Thursday, April 9, 2009

Believe and Not Doubt

If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.
James 1:5-8

I was reading this passage this morning and the words really hit me. When I pray, do I pray in belief that God will answer my requests? Or do I just pray because I ought to without any thought as to whether God will hear and act? For a while now I have really had the desire for a powerful and effective prayer life. I want my time with God to matter and to count. I want to feel like each time I meet with God in prayer, I encounter Him. I want my prayers to be answered. Yet, when I think about my prayers, how often do I seek diligently and wait patiently for God's answer and how often do I continue on with my day without a second thought about what I prayed?

The question is, does this mean that I don't believe that God will answer my prayers? I know I certainly want him to but that doesn't equal belief. I guess it comes down to what I believe about God. Do I trust that He has great plans for me? Do I trust that he cares for me and loves me? Do I believe that he has the power to do immeasurably more than I could ever ask or imagine? Do I believe that God is who he says he is? I mean, if he has the power to raise Jesus from the dead, what can't he do?

Last night in prayer group, we focused on Psalm 37:1-7 which talked about delighting in the Lord, being still, and waiting patiently. It was a great reminder to be thankful for God's blessings and for his work in the world and in our lives. I know that I struggle with being still and waiting patiently. Our culture definitely does not help to cultivate these beneficial qualities. It's all about noise, distraction, and now now now.

I must choose to believe that God can teach me to be still, to wait patiently, and to believe and not doubt in prayer. I must continually ask for His help in changing my heart and mind. I need to be like the father in Mark who tells Jesus, "I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!"

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