Line upon Line: James 1:5–6

“Line upon Line: James 1:5–6,” New Era, Apr. 2009, 31

Line upon Line

James 1:5–6

The Apostle James taught us the key to receiving wisdom from God.

5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.

6 But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.

Ask of God

Reading this verse led Joseph Smith to pray in the Sacred Grove, where he experienced the First Vision (see Joseph Smith—History 1:11–17). Can you think of examples from your family or your own experience in which a person seeking knowledge received an answer to a prayer? Write about it in your journal.

Giveth to All Men

“It is the privilege of the children of God to come to God and get revelation. … God is not a respecter of persons; we all have the same privilege.”

The Prophet Joseph Smith, Teachings of Presidents of the Church: Joseph Smith (Melchizedek Priesthood and Relief Society course of study, 2007), 132.

It Shall Be Given

Heavenly Father hears and answers your prayers. His answers come in His own time and in various ways—for example, in the circumstances of your life, through the kind acts of others, or through the still, small voice of the Holy Ghost. Here are some ways you can prepare to receive guidance through the Spirit (from “Revelation,” True to the Faith [2004], 141–43):

  • Pray for guidance.

  • Be reverent.

  • Be humble.

  • Keep the commandments.

  • Partake of the sacrament worthily.

  • Study the scriptures every day.

  • Take time to ponder.

  • When seeking specific guidance, study the matter out in your mind.

  • Patiently seek God’s will.


Liberally—freely, generously, bountifully.


Upbraideth—criticizes, scolds, reproaches. In other words, God will answer you and will never be upset with you for sincerely praying to Him for an answer to a question.

Ask in Faith

President Thomas S. Monson

“The Prophet [Joseph Smith] said that after reading this verse he knew for a certainty he must either put the Lord to the test and ask Him or perhaps choose to remain in darkness forever. … He had read the scripture, he had understood the scripture, he had trusted in God his Eternal Father; and now he knelt and prayed, knowing that God would give him the enlightenment which he so earnestly sought. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught us the principle of faith—by example.”

President Thomas S. Monson, “The Prophet Joseph Smith: Teacher by Example,” Ensign, June 1994, 4.

Detail from Brother Joseph, by David Lindsley; photograph by David Newman