First, click here to read Mark 9:17-24. You’ll find the prayer in verse 24…
“I believe… help my unbelief!” For me… right now… that is the most honest, and most desperate, prayer in Scripture (Okay… maybe after “What shall we do to be saved?”). I write that today probably because I seem to spend so much of my life in that state… believing, yet needing help believing.
A desperate dad pleads for help with his son who is possessed. The spirit had made the child mute (17), would throw him to the ground causing foaming at the mouth… grinding his teeth… making him rigid (18), and often cast him into the fire or water to destroy him (22). Can you imagine if that was YOUR child??
He had asked Jesus’ disciples to cast the demon out, but they couldn’t (18b). As a last resort he says to Christ, “If you can do anything, have compassion and help us” (22). The statement is filled with desperate hopeful doubt. He believed… he wanted to believe… but the situation was so grim he wasn’t sure if anything could be done.
Jesus’ reply was, “If you can! All things are possible for one who beleives” (23). And that is when the dad said, “I believe; help my unblief!” (24). The dad did believe…. but there was part of him that was unsure, that didn’t believe. The second most honest prayer in Scripture may be… “I believe; help my unbelief!”
I believe… God can protect my family, but at times I struggle. I believe… God can bring awakening, but sometimes I wonder if He will. I believe… God can make my children Godly, but life is tough on them. I believe… God controls everything, but I see so much chaos. I believe… God can use me for the Kingdom, but I’m afraid of what He might require of me. I believe… everything in my life is for God’s glory and my good, but what happens day to day is hard to understand. I believe… God can do more than I imagine (Eph 3:20), but there are times I have fear. I believe… fill in the blank for yourself.
Benjamin Franklin wrote, “God helps those who help themselves.” And he was wrong. If anything, God helps those who are at the end of their rope. He helps those who can’t do anything… know they can’t do anything… and are crying out to Him for help.
There are probably some who might read this blog who need to get honest in their prayer. So honest that they admit the thing they’re most afraid to admit… unbelief, doubt, insecurity.
Whether you’re praying about a wayward child, a cheating spouse, a sick loved one… or one of a thousand other things, maybe it’s time you came clean before God. Maybe it’s time you got honest with yourself and God. Maybe you need to confess you deepest fear… unbelief. And then admit that you (we, I!) have to rely on God for everything… INCLUDING faith and belief!
And then maybe… just maybe… that is when you (We, I!) will experience God’s power!