Do We Doubt When We Pray?

Matthew 11:28 – [Jesus said,] "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." (NIV)

I often think of the story about the farmer who went to borrow a shovel. My children and I refer to this story often, when we see a similar situation building and we or others are taking on a negative attitude.

The story goes that a farmer was in desperate need of a shovel, so he entertained the idea of asking his neighbour to loan him one. The man walked along to his neighbour's house deliberating as to whether or not the farmer would lend him the shovel. At first he was positive, but then he began to think of more and more reasons why the farmer would say no to him. He finally arrived and knocked on the farmer's door, and when the farmer opened the door, he said, "I don't want your blankety-blank shovel, so you can keep it if you are so mean with your tools!"

Are we also like that man when we pray? Do we sometimes fear to ask God for help, believing that He will find us unworthy of the request, or even worse, that He is incapable of answering us? Or perhaps we are unsure of receiving a positive answer, and we prepare ourselves to be disappointed by beginning to believe that God will say "No!" Here is an example of this:

Isaiah 7:10–12 – Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, "Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights." But Ahaz said, "I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test." (NIV)

Jesus says that there is nothing that we can't ask for in His name:

John 14:13-14 – And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it. (NIV 2011)

If Jesus encourages us to ask, then why are we so convinced that we do not deserve an answer? We all make mistakes, but Jesus always gives us another chance. That is what His love is all about.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, please forgive us for our reluctance to ask for Your help. Asking can leave us feeling comforted and can also aid us in our difficulty, but one of the better reasons for asking You to help is that it gives You an opportunity to show Your glory and Your heavenly grace. Help us to remember these things. Thank You. Amen.

1 comment on this post.
  1. PresbyCan Feedback:

    Thanks for your message.


    A good word, Marilyn.


    Hello Marilyn:
    I once asked a minister to pray for me. He said, “Father, please heal Les. But if you choose not to…”


    Thanks for this message. It came when most needed. Blessings.


    Thank you for your devotional. God bless you. Keep writing.


    Thank you Marilyn.
    May you have a lovely Valentine’s Day tomorrow.


    Thanks for bringing doubt to the forefront.
    My wife and I were just discussing this the other day. Prayers do work. I can attest to that.
    May God bless you abundantly.


    A very fine devotional, Marilyn La Pierre.
    I would keep in mind, too, the times we read, “… according to Your will, Lord …” or a similar phrase.
    In the Lord’s Prayer we are asked to say, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
    I don’t mean to belittle any quotation you have used.
    Keep writing.


    I will never forget the shovel story! It says it all.


    Good one!