James 1:5-8
{5} But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach,   and it will be given to him. {6} But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. {7} For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, {8} being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

A man known to be very conservative recommended me to a pastor search committee. The pastor search committee asked me to consider becoming their pastor. I agreed to pray with the committee related to this matter. They made some preliminary check's and asked if they could come to the church I was pastoring and hear me preach and talk with me at length.

Following the visit the committee wanted me to come to their church in view of a call to become their pastor. I agreed to pray concerning this request. In the mean time the Interim pastor found out who recommended me and he said he would oppose my name being brought to the church. His opposition came because of negative interactions he had with the man who recommended me. Finally he said he would not oppose me if the committee checked me out further. The committee refused to take his advice.

The chairman called me to tell where they were and the problem they were having. I urged them to check me out further. I had no problem with the interim's request. The committee did not want to give in but since urged them to do further checking they finally agreed. After a more through checking the interim did some checking on his own and then became convinced that although I was very conservative I was not a trouble maker or radical in my approach to the ministry and my denomination.

After this experience the pastor search committee chairman thought I had the gift of wisdom. I became the pastor of that church and assured this man God does not give a permanent gift of wisdom. I believe all Christians must seek wisdom from God. Our text commands all who lack wisdom to for this blessing from God.

1. Who should ask? v 5 a

2. What should we ask? v 5 b

3. Who should we ask

4. How should we ask? v 6-8

1.     Who should ask? v 5 a 
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him . . . "

A. Those . . Lacking. "But if any of you lacks wisdom,. . . "

        1. Note verse 4 ". . . lacking in nothing."

Strongs # 3007 leipo (li'-po); a primary verb; to leave, i.e. (intransitively or passively) to fail or be absent: KJV-- be destitute (wanting), lack.

B. Those . . Letting. "But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him . . . "

        1. There is a voluntary aspect to the asking.
                a. Let in James 17 times, In gospels 95 times, and in NT 317 times.

Matthew 5:16 (NASB) "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.

John 14:27 (NASB) "Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives, do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

Roy Edgeman the director of the discipleship division for the Southern Baptist Convention tells a story about learning to pray. A missionary shared at an associational meeting concerning the prayer life of a Christian. The Spirit of God quickened Roy to seek more. He wrote a note and ask for the missionary to stay after and teach him more.

Roy folded the note and wrote the missionary's name on it. As it passed down the isle toward the missionary Roy best friend, Bill Hogue, opened it and read it. He then took out a pencil and added to the note. Roy said I really did not appreciate Bill reading my note. Then he learned that Bill added the words "me too."


Who needs to pray? All of us. We everyone are lacking. We all need wisdom and especially wisdom in prayer.

2.    What should we ask? v 5 b 
". . . lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, . . . "

A. We should ask for . . Wisdom.

The word wisdom is found 52 times in NT. 18 times in 1 Cor, 4 in James

Strongs # 4678 sophia (sof-ee'-ah); from 4680; wisdom (higher or lower, worldly or spiritual): KJV-- wisdom. (DIC)

String's # 4680 sophos (sof-os'); akin to saphes (clear); wise (in a most general application): KJV-- wise. Compare 5429. (DIC)

String's # 5429 phronimos (fron'-ee-mos); thoughtful, i.e. sagacious or discreet (implying a cautious character; while 4680 denotes practical skill or acumen;

1 Corinthians 3:18-20 (NASB)
(18) Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become foolish that he may become wise. {19} For the wisdom of this world is foolishness before God. For it is written, "He is THE ONE WHO CATCHES THE WISE IN THEIR CRAFTINESS"; {20} and again, "THE LORD KNOWS THE REASONINGS of the wise, THAT THEY ARE USELESS."

James 3:15-17 NASB
{15} This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, natural, demonic. {16} For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing. {17} But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.

Two brothers were to inherit their fathers wealth equally. They got in such a fight over how to divide it they wound up in court. The judge studied the problem and made the decision to let the eldest son divide the wealth any way he wanted.

Then the judge said "after you have divide the wealth your younger brother gets first choice. I think of that story ever so often and believe it is a good illustration of wisdom.


Every Christian needs wisdom. This week you may face a situation that takes wisdom that only God can give. We are urged to ask for wisdom.

3.    Who should we ask? v 5 b 
". . . let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. "

A. Ask our . . Giving God. ". . . let him ask of God, who gives . . . "

B. Ask our . . Generous God. ". . . to all men generously. . . "
        1. God is more willing to give than we are to receive.

String's # 574 haplos (hap-loce'); adverb from 573 (in the objective sense of 572); bountifully; KJV-- liberally.

String's # 573 haplous (hap-looce'); probably from 1 (as a particle of union) and the base of 4120; properly, folded together, i.e. single (figuratively, clear): KJV-- single.

String's # 4120 pleko (plek'-o); a primary word; to twine or braid: KJV--

C. Ask our . . Gracious God.
    NAS    ". . . without reproach, and it will be given to him. "

    KJV ". . . and upbraideth not; . . . "

    NIV ". . . without finding fault, . . . "

upbraideth, Ex. "cast and teeth"

Matt 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth. (KJV)

String's # 3679 oneidizo (on-i-did'-zo); from 3681; to defame, i.e. rail at, chide, taunt: KJV-- cast in teeth, (suffer) reproach, revile, upbraid. 4680 oneidismos (on-i-dis-mos'); from 3679; contumely: KJV-- reproach. (DIC)


Satan will do most anything to keep a Christian from praying. The Lord commands those who lack wisdom to pray. I think that includes all of us.

4.    How should we ask? v 6-8
"But let him ask in faith without any doubting,. . . "

{6} But let him ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts is like the surf of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. {7} For let not that man expect that he will receive anything from the Lord, {8} being a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways.

Note James 4:2 last 9 words. ". . . You do not have because you do not ask. "

A. We are to ask in . . Faith. v 6 a
        1. Without . . Doubting. Paratrooper said I didn't jump I was pusher.
                KJV wavering and wavereth

String's # 1252 diakrino (dee-ak-ree'-no); from 1223 and 2919; to separate thoroughly, i.e. (literally and reflexively) to withdraw from, oppose; figuratively, hesitate:     KJV translate same word as doubt in:

Matt 21:21 Jesus answered and said unto them, Verily I say unto you, If ye have faith, and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the fig tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; it shall be done. (KJV)


James 2:4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?

        2. Without . . Double mindedness. v 8 a Word only 3 times in KJV all
            in James; 1:8, 1:8 and 4:8.

double and minded
String's # 1374 dipsuchos (dip'-soo-khos); from 1364 and 5590; two-spirited, i.e. vacillating (in opinion or purpose): KJV-- double minded.

String's # 1364 dis (dece); adverb from 1417; twice: KJV-- again, twice.

String's # 5590 psuche (psoo-khay'); from 5594; breath, i.e. (by implication) spirit, abstractly or concretely (the animal sentient principle only; thus distinguished on the one hand from 4151, which is the rational and immortal soul; . . .mind.

Have you ever been knocked around by the waves of the sea or ocean? Christa and I had an interesting experience in Hawaii. She is afraid of water and I was out about 50 feet further than her when a wave took her one way she recovered from that but had no idea another wave bigger and stronger would soon knock her in the other direction.


James illustrates from the sea, a weak faith and a doubting mind. They are negative examples related to prayer.


1. Who should ask?

2. What should we ask?

3. Who should we ask

4. How should we ask?

Email Preach Him with Dr Jim
Return to Sermons Index