James 1:1-8 (AMP)
James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, To the twelve [Hebrew] tribes [scattered abroad among the Gentiles] in the dispersion: Greetings (rejoice)!
Consider it nothing but joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you fall into various trials. Be assured that the testing of your faith [through experience] produces endurance [leading to spiritual maturity, and inner peace]. And let endurance have its perfect result and do a thorough work, so that you may be perfect and completely developed [in your faith], lacking in nothing.
If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But he must ask [for wisdom] in faith, without doubting [God’s willingness to help], for the one who doubts is like a billowing surge of the sea that is blown about and tossed by the wind. For such a person ought not to think or expect that he will receive anything [at all] from the Lord, being a double-minded man, unstable and restless in all his ways [in everything he thinks, feels, or decides].
How many times have you said a prayer, but doubted God’s ability to answer that prayer? Be honest.
You know God has good intentions for your life, but do you still recognize that when you’re undergoing trials? In this passage, James is teaching the tribes that difficult, uncertain times are faith conditioning times. Uncertain times are the times you grow and come closer to God’s purpose for your life.
You have no choice but to pray, recognizing His sovereign providence and knowing that there is no challenging time stronger than Him. James says it’s okay to ask God for clarity regarding why He is making you walk in this season. However, the one condition He puts on it is this: don’t pray because of the pressure. Pray because of your faith. Pray confidently because you want God more than anything else. That’s what it means to be single-minded.
Doubled-minded people don’t get answers to their prayers. Double-minded people are hesitant, dubious, unstable. You can’t be of two minds. You can’t ask God to open a door for you while standing there wondering if He’ll be able to do it. When your faith is divided, you give up your confidence in God.
You will be so much closer to your destination if you stop being double-minded and trust in God and His plan. Your disciplined offering is an offering of spiritual single-mindedness. In fact, become so focused on God that you are monomaniacal. Become a maniac for God—a spiritual maniac. Be a maniac when it comes to prayer. Pray, and if nothing changes, do it again, then again. Stand at God’s door unafraid to say, “Hey, it’s me again.”
Melba Pattillo, notable for being a member of the Little Rock Nine, a group of nine students in Little Rock, Arkansas who were among the first African American students to desegregate a local school, wrote a book called I Will Not Fear. In the first chapter, she describes her birth. Anticipating it was going to be a difficult birth—as Melba was nine pounds and her mother was petite—her equally petite grandmother trekked through the winter storm to the local hospital to request her daughter be admitted. The hospital supervisor told her she could not have a room in the hospital, but could go down the hall to the janitor’s closet, and her daughter could give birth there. The supervisor reasoned that if it was rumored that one African American woman had been given a room, other African Americans would come down to the hospital requesting the same thing, and the hospital didn’t want them to come in and stink up the place.
After thirty hours of labor, Melba had to be removed with forceps, which caused an infection on her head. Her temperature skyrocketed, and she was close to dying. Her grandmother says that all she had at that time to lean on was prayer. She was a maniac in prayer, so much so that the kind janitor heard her in the closet praying. He told her that she should wash Melba with Epsom salt; he’d overheard the doctor tell the nurse to do that, but the nurse had yet to come down the hall. Melba’s grandmother went to the store, began washing Melba’s head with Epsom salt, and Melba survived. Melba says she’s alive because she had a grandmother who wouldn’t stop praying, and a janitor who wouldn’t stop sweeping—an angel with a broom.
I think we could all learn a lesson from Melba’s grandmother. You must have the same mind and spirit that God does about your trials. Since God believes the pressure in your current season is working to mature your faith and contribute to your purpose, you must believe the same!