We’re told to pray without doubting, 1 Tim 2:8. This is because doubting will adversely affect your prayer life.
In Jas 1:5-8 we are to ask in faith nothing wavering. Wavering is like waves of the sea. When you waver, you are double minded, unstable, and think that you won’t receive anything from the Lord.
In Mk 11:23-24 a person has a great promise that God will hear his prayer if he “shall not doubt in his heart”.
So, we have to deal with doubt. To pray without doubting, we must determine the cause of doubt. And then we have to overcome the doubt.
The cause of doubt is:
Lack of understanding, Acts 2:12, Acts 10:17. Lack of understanding will cause you to doubt. Understanding comes from the scripture. In both of these examples, God removed the doubt by the scripture. Likewise, he will remove your doubt by the scriptures.
A friend of mine was concerned that God would’t heal his wife because of his lack of faith. He didn’t understand that healing in the gospels is connected with Israel’s salvation (Jer 17:14; 30:7, 17). Because Jesus is Israel’s Messiah and he came to save them, he had to heal them.
But after the gospel opened to Gentiles, many weren’t healed in the New Testament. God didn’t heal Paul’s infirmity. Instead, he strengthened Paul through grace, 2 Cor 12:7-10. Trouble with infirmity will often perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you, 1 Pet 5:10-11. And you find your suffering is for God’s glory. You might suffer for someone else’s consolation, 2 Cor 1. And when someone righteous dies, it might be that he was “taken away from the evil to come”, Is 57:1.
When you understand this, suddenly your doubt is dispelled and your prayer life becomes more effectual.
Fear, Deut 28:66. Fear will cause you to doubt. Peter was afraid and doubted in Matt 14:30-31 and fell into the water.
God hath not given us the spirit of fear, 2 Tim 1:7. That’s why I say don’t watch the news or check the markets or search the internet, if these increase your fear. Spend time with God and in the scriptures.
I’m concerned that some people who moved from Canada for health reasons did so out of fear. Some people who ran from the war in Ukraine did so out of fear. But some Ukrainians didn’t leave; rather they stayed to be a witness for Jesus and a help to others who couldn’t leave. How could they overcome their fear? By scriptures like Ps 3:2-6, 4:8, 27:1-3. For more on overcoming fear, see Dispelling Fear.
Little faith, Matt 14:31. You’ll doubt when your faith is little. Sometimes little faith is just immaturity. Some people are weak in faith, Rom 14:1. When you find that your faith is little, pray like the disciples, Lord, “Increase our faith”, Lk 17:5.
Yet, some people have great faith. In Matt 8:5-10 the centurion had great faith. In Matt 15:21-28 the Canaanite woman had great faith. Neither of these were Jews. Their faith was great because they knew to whom they were speaking. They were speaking to God, manifest in the flesh. It took many episodes of miracles for the disciples to finally realize that Jesus was the Son of God.
Your faith won’t be little and your prayer won’t be riddled with doubt when you realize that you are talking personally with God Almighty. “With God nothing shall be impossible”, Lk 1:37.
Unbelief, Matt 28:16-17. Unbelief will cause doubt. This takes us back to Mk 11:23-24. You must believe Jesus. Believe that he can and believe that he will answer your prayer.
His Holy Spirit will lead you to pray according to God’s will, Rom 8:26-27. And when you pray according to the will of God, you have confidence that he hears you, 1 Jn 5:14-15. He will give you the scriptures on which to hang your faith.
Conclusion: You must believe Jesus to be saved. And when you are saved, you must believe Jesus, and not doubt, to have the confidence that God hears your prayers. Pray without doubting.