If any of you falls short in wisdom, they should ask God for it….But they should ask in faith, with no doubts.
For the longest time I was concerned that if I had any intellectual doubt about God that I wouldn’t receive a darn thing I asked for.
Much to my relief, after some brief study, this is not what James seems to be saying at all.
The language is such that he is referring to doubt in the sense of waffling back and forth, being uncommitted. One translation has it “ask in faith, without hesitating” instead of “without doubt”.
We all have honest intellectual doubts. Those do not disqualify us. But not being all in—that can really hold us back. Wavering and hesitating, results in non-action. The kind of faith James is looking for is that which is so committed that it results naturally in action toward the will of God.
We’re called to a deep commitment to the will of God even if we often fail at it. God knows our heart. It’s the waffling, wavering, hesitating, changing allegiances that God doesn’t seem willing to work with.
I think this true faith, with no waffling, results in the action of consistent, committed prayer. I’ve experienced this, and have received so much supernatural help when I have prayed in this way—persistently, not hesitating, not wondering if I should.
God, after all, gives generously and ungrudgingly to all people.