Confidence In Prayer
When you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable in all they do. – James 1:5-8
James gives us some straightforward instructions to prayer. True faith does not doubt. While we can understand what James is saying, if we are honest, we have a hard time implementing his teaching.
Ask with faith and do not doubt. This feels like we are making God into our servant. Heal this person. Give us money. Fix this problem. Tell me what to do. It seems that James wants us to view God like our personal genie. Our wish is His command.
For this is the real reason we have trouble maintaining confidence in prayer. Who are we to tell God what to do? How do we know if this is in His will? What if He has something better?
What Is Confidence in Prayer?
I suggest the confidence is in the relationship more than getting your wish.
Jesus tells the story of the man goes to his friend’s house late at night (Luke 11:5-8). His friend is in bed; his house is locked up. The friend doesn’t want to get up. He doesn’t want to wake the kids. But the man knows his friend will get up.
The confidence is not that his friend will give him a croissant, a bagel, or a cinnamon roll. The confidence is that his friend will come down and help.
See the birds. They don’t worry about their next meal (Matthew 6:26). It may be a worm or berries or something else birds eat. They don’t worry because they know they will eat.
This Is Our Confidence in Prayer
This is the confidence we have in approaching God. We are His children, and He will take care of us. We don’t come in prayer begging God to answer us. At the same time, we don’t come to command Him to act. We come because He invites us to come.
God wants us to trust His heart to help us. Bring Him your requests because He loves you. He will never reject you for coming (James 4:8).
A.W. Tozer’s classic, The Pursuit of God has impacted many over the years – me included. This book will be a great companion study to the ideas presented in this article.
Another great resource is Approaching God by Steve Brown.