You might think that doubt has no place in prayer. After all, doubt seems like the opposite of faith. Hebrews 11:6 warns that “without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” In Genesis 15, Abram’s response to God’s promise to be his “shield” and his “very great reward” seems to be grounded in doubt. Abram’s answer is essentially a complaint: “You have given me no children” (v. 3).
Abram was 75 years old, and his wife was 60 when God initially called him to leave his family and his native country and relocate “to the land I will show you” where the Lord promised to make him a “great nation” (Gen. 12:1–2). The only flaw in this plan was that Abram and Sarai had remained childless up to this point. By natural standards, Sarai was now past the years of childbearing, and Abram was “as good as dead” where children were concerned (Heb. 11:12).
Instead of being angry with Abram for raising this objection, the Lord reaffirmed His promise. God’s word was enough. Abram believed God’s promise, and He “credited it to him as righteousness” (Gen. 15:6). The Lord also reiterated His promise to give Abram the land of Canaan as a possession. He sealed this promise with a solemn covenant ritual and a prediction that Abram’s descendants would be slaves “in a country not their own” but would eventually “come out with great possessions” (vv. 13–14). This covenant ceremony emphasized God’s role in bringing these promises to fulfillment. It is not a contract between two equal parties, but an unconditional covenant made and ratified by God (see also Gal. 3:17; Heb. 6:13–14).
>> Do you struggle with doubt? It is okay to express those doubts to God in prayer. But the best remedy is to remind yourself of what God has already said and done. God’s Word is always true; He will never break His promises.
Thank You for giving us the Scriptures, a record of Your promises made and fulfilled. You understand our weakness, giving us the testimony of Scripture as reassurance that You are powerful and faithful to do what You have promised.