Doubting in Prayer

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Puritan Board Post-Graduate
According to James 1:6, one must not doubt in prayer. I was recently asked, 'what if you are praying about something that you are really worried about and can't get your mind off of'? I was unsure how to reconcile that with the notion that prayer is an act of faith and the mustard seed faith (Matthew 13:31). Is James perhaps talking about the idle recitations of prayer that aren't sincere? Different translations have wavering. Does that mean second guessing what was prayed for?
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Puritan Board Freshman
A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.Proverbs 18:2. Our prayers must coincide with Gods zeal for his own name and the progression of his kingdom.

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
It doesn't mean wavering in what you want: it means not doubting that God is omniscient and omnipotent and all-knowing. It means not doubting that He cares for you as you cast your care upon Him, even if you can't pin down exactly what is troubling you. It means believing that He knows your need before you do, and is committed to your ultimate good, regardless of the path it takes to get there. It means believing in His goodness.


Puritan Board Junior
Contrasting doubt with faith to help clarify...

Hebrews 11:6 - But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

Faith is confidence and firm conviction that, if you ask according to the will of God, you will receive it, provided you don't give up. For things not laid out explicitly as His will (Paul's desire for the thorn to be removed), that He will answer beyond all you can think or ask, for His glory and your good.

Doubt is what does not rise to this level.

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
What Ben says is excellent and applies well to all our requests to God. Also keep in mind that James 1:5-8 specifically has in mind prayers for wisdom: "If any man lacks wisdom..." The promise there is that God will give wisdom to those who earnestly pray for it, and the instruction is that we should pray for wisdom without doubting that in his goodness God will give it. Despite the similar-sounding assurances about prayer for sickness later in the epistle, I doubt James would say the same thing if the passage began, for example, with "If any man lacks wealth..."
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