How to Pray for Wisdom

When we pray for wisdom, God may grant surprising doors of opportunity for mission.

“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 1:7-8 ESV)

What do you expect when you pray?

Do you pray with expectation, or do you pray because prayer is the expectation?

If we’re honest, sometimes we pray because we know that Christians are expected to pray. But do we pray with the expectation that God is going to answer? There’s a difference. James addressed this with a group of Jewish believers in the first century who faced the trial of persecution.

As these people were displaced and scattered from their homes, James commanded them to pray and ask God for wisdom (1:5). But he said they must ask in faith. They must believe and not doubt (1:6). In other words, don’t pray because it’s the expectation, but rather pray with the expectation that God will answer.

Why do this? James provided the answer with two illustrations. The first described doubters as a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind (1:6). The second expanded the first and described doubters as “double-minded” (1:7-8).

“Double-minded” literally means two-souled. It is used only twice in the New Testament and both times by James (1:8; 4:8). This descriptor further defined the instability of the doubter identified in verse six. James equated instability and double-mindedness with immaturity.

The doubter “must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord.” Some translations use the word expect. The reality is this: When we don’t expect God to answer, we can expect to receive nothing. That is, after all, what we expected. Instead, when we ask God for wisdom, we must pray with the expectation that he will give it.

In Afghanistan, believers in Jesus have learned that God answers this prayer for wisdom in trials. Many of them have been scattered and displaced from their homes through persecution from the Taliban. Two ABWE ministries, Live Global and EveryEthne, are partnering with a group of Afghan underground church leaders and their families to bring them to the US to minister to the Afghan refugees living here. These believers prayed for wisdom. God has provided it and opened the doors for a great ministry opportunity.

How will you pray for wisdom? Seek the Lord, and perhaps part of his answer will be an open door in ministry.


“Father in Heaven, help my unbelief. Teach me to pray with the expectation that you will provide wisdom when I ask. Please give wisdom to the Afghan Christians as they serve you amid the chaos. Show me how I can help.”

Prayer requests for the Afghan Initiative

  1. Pray for visas to be granted to Afghan underground church leaders and their families coming to the US.
  2. Pray for American churches located in places filled with Afghan refugees.
  3. Pray for the gospel to be preached boldly to these refugees.
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