In the Bible James, instrument of God to write this particular part of God’s word, comes to us in these few verses in a very positive, straight-forward way. He speaks out of a conviction that is given him by the Holy Spirit who guides him in his speaking. Very emphatically he says here, “Let him ask of God. It shall be given him.” No wavering there, no doubt, but a simple straight-forward statement, very positively put. And again later on he says, “Let not that man who wavers in his asking, think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” We see two different kind of men here.

In Wisdom

It is a special gift that James sets before us. That gift is wisdom. That, he says, is what we should be praying for. “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, and it shall be given.” There are different ways in which we can say that. That is, other words can be used for the word, “wisdom.” One of the phrases that can be used is “good judgement.” A wise person is one who shows good judgement. Or there is the word which we probably do not use quite as often, but yet not all that unfamiliar, the word, “prudence.” A wise man, then sees everything in the proper light. And seeing things in the proper light he then makes a sound judgement with respect to what he sees. And having made that sound judgement, he then acts in harmony with that sound judgement. The opposite of wisdom, of course, is foolishness. Or, to use another word, folly. The fool never sees reality as it is. His eyes are blinded, or he looks through dark-colored glasses. But he never can see something which is reality, and understand that that is the way it is, that that is reality. He sees something.

Through Prayer

It is exactly for that reason that God comes to us this afternoon with the words of our text. “If any of you lack wisdom..” (We can emphasis this. Put it in capital letters and underline it.) “Let him ask of God.” Putting that into one word, “We must pray.” That is what James is telling us to do. That is what God is telling us to do, through His servant. That, of course, is good sound advice in every circumstance of life. You and I, children of God, must always make all our needs known in prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. Not just when we feel like it. Not just when it is convenient. Not just when we think, “O, I’m in absolute dire straights. Now I see the necessity of it all.” No, our life must be a life of prayer. Praying to God should be just as natural as breathing air. That is our life. That is how we should be living. Always before God in prayer. 

Our lives, then, must be lives of prayer, so that we never dare to undertake anything, or venture forth without prayer. We must always realize our dependence upon God so completely that we pray without ceasing. And we are admonished to do that. “Pray without ceasing,” the apostle Paul says. So the communication lines between heaven and us must always remain open and used. It is so easy to say, “Well, I’m too busy. I’ve got to get up quick and go here and go there. No time.” We say that quite often with respect to a lot of different aspects of our spiritual life. It was Martin Luther, I believe, and if it wasn’t Martin Luther, it was John Calvin, but it was one of two that said, “The busier I am the more I pray.” Because he knew that the busier he was, the more he had to do, and the more difficult it would be, so all the more he needed the grace of God and the guidance of His Holy Spirit. So the more he had to do, the more he prayed. Now we think opposite of that. The more we have to do, the less time we have to pray. We say, “when I have more time and a little extra time, then I can sit down or I’ll go upon my knees and pray to the Lord. I’ll make up for it.” Really, the more we need the Lord, the more we should be on our knees before the Lord
Prayer. It is really, as we see then, a wonderful gift of God. Prayer is more than simply coming to God and asking Him some things. Just think of it. Prayer is communion between the Most High God and us. And we are no more than little tiny specks of dust. But yet we have the privilege to be in the presence of the Almighty, thrice-holy God, He Who resides in the heavens above. We have entrance to Him.

By Faith

A lot of times you may think that in your particular situation your prayers remained unanswered. “It seems as if my problems, instead of being alleviated, are only getting worse.” How can that be? You become more and more troubled, more and more depressed. Doubts and fears seem to multiply. Heaven seems as if it were a closed door. You pray, but it seems as if the prayer does not rise above the ceiling of the room in which you presently are. There is no answer from heaven to all your pleadings. You become discouraged, so discouraged, that you feel as if each prayer that you utter simply dies upon your lips. That is as far as it goes. 

James speaks of a double minded man. That is one who cannot make up his mind one way or the other. Today he is of one opinion, and tomorrow he thinks the opposite. First he goes in one direction; then he makes an about-face and goes in the other direction. He staggers about then, like one who is drunk. He is easily swayed, first of all by one influence and then by another influence. So he is like the waves of the sea. They change with the direction of the wind. So as the waves go here, and the waves go there and whichever direction, so man is unstable.

All of these things are under His direction because He knows what you need. You may not always like it, just like a child may not like his licking, that spanking that he gets or she gets from the parents. But the parent does it in love, to correct. So the Lord knows exactly what we need. And when we need it He gives it to us. And in His giving to us, we are made wise. We are then patient. We then have comfort because we see ourselves as we are in Jesus Christ, chosen, saved, redeemed, delivered, and ultimately glorified. So it is, to belong to Christ. So it is that we must call upon the name of God. Do that in prayer, casting all of our cares upon Him.


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