What Ought We to Pray for During Times of Trial?2
“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.” – James 1:5-8
Not knowing what to do can be a scary thing. Most of us like life when it is comfortable and predictable, and we are in control. Unfortunately, life is not always what we want, and we are not always in those situations that we are most comfortable in, where we are in our zone. At one point or another, difficult times befall us, and we are often stuck wondering, what now? We find ourselves not knowing what to do, not knowing what the right choice is.
As we saw in verse 2, believers will meet trials of various kinds and James tells his readers to seek to be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing in verse 4. In verse 5 he highlights one of the things we might lack during times of trial, wisdom. It is wisdom that will guide us and give us direction, it is having wisdom that will help us to not be overwhelmed by trials when they come. Paul says to Timothy that Scripture is given that the man of God may be complete and equipped for every good work. However, we need wisdom to apply the spiritual knowledge we get from the scriptures, we need wisdom for the practical application of God’s word.
James continues to tell his readers and us, that if any of us lack wisdom, we should ask God who gives generously to all without reproach. In times of trial, we should ask God for wisdom. Prayer should not be our last resort but our first point of call. And how wonderful are these words, that God will generously give us wisdom, and this He gives wholeheartedly and without reservation. God will not “judge” us for asking him for wisdom nor will he be irritated by our asking, as James says He gives without reproach.
James further tells us how we ought to ask for wisdom, he tells us to ask in faith and not with doubts. At this point you might be taken aback and say, “What about me? My faith is not so strong.” Or, “What about me? I am never sure what God’s will is.” The doubt that James is talking about here is doubting God’s character and that He will keep his promises. We need to ask in faith, trusting that God is faithful, and that he will do that which he promised. We need to be like Abraham, who did not waver but grew strong in faith and was fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised (Rom. 4:20-21). In asking God for wisdom during trials, we cannot be double-minded as James puts it, we cannot be looking to God and also to self, in faith we need to let go and trust that God will carry us.
So, when trials come, we should not so much pray for the removal of affliction but more for wisdom to make the right use of our trials. It is in this way that we will be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.