James 1:1-8 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations: Greetings.
It’s a regular question in my mind: How much does faith affect our lives in real, tangible ways? We pray, but miraculous divine interventions can seem few and far between. We go to church, but sometimes find division rather than healing. We know our ultimate destination, but what about today? Does my faith in God make a real difference in my life right now?
Maybe the problem is me. Perhaps I would better feel the effect of God on my life if I eliminated all doubt from my prayers. After all, James writes, “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind” (v. 6). He seems to imply that in order to work, our prayers must be 100% conviction and 0% doubt. But how do we do this? Is it a matter of holding our minds in a certain position of balance? Are we supposed to strain our brains to wring out all questions? Will this prove our faith?
I don’t think this is what the writer of James means. He is addressing people who were using prayer to hedge their bets. Prayers should not be offered simply to cover all the bases, as an afterthought to work, worry, complaining, and fear. Afterthought prayers should not expect to receive anything from God, because they do not actually expect that God will do anything. Prayers free from doubt are those offered by people who are certain of a response, whatever the answer might be.
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