Help My Unbelief! A Prayer God Loves To Answer!

In Mark 9:24, the father of a child possessed by an unclean spirit cries out to Jesus, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

In response, Jesus commands the unclean spirit to come out of the boy and the boy is completely healed.

I think this is an incredibly beautiful picture of the Christian life. It sums up so much of what it looks like to follow Christ.

But this verse does raise a question: why would Jesus heal the boy if the father was struggling with unbelief?

After all, in Hebrews, it says that without faith it is impossible to please God. And there were even times when Jesus refused to perform miracles because of the unbelief of the people.

So what made this situation so different? Why did Jesus answer the man’s feeble cry of, “I believe, help my unbelief,”?

I Believe, Help My Unbelief

On the surface, it seems like a rather strange thing that Jesus would heal the man’s son when he said, “I believe, help my unbelief.” Because when we look at the entire Bible, we see faith coursing through it like a mighty river.

Faith is essential for every aspect of the Christian life.

The Christian life is one of faith. From start to finish, beginning to end, we place our faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

We believe in Christ Jesus to be saved. Everyone who believes in Jesus for salvation has their sins forgiven. Those who don’t believe will not receive salvation. There is no Christian life without faith in Christ.

We believe God to fulfill all his promises to us. As it says in 2 Corinthians 1:20, “For all the promises of God find their Yes in him [Jesus].” God is faithful and will bring about all his promises in our lives.

We believe God to preserve us and keep us and sustain us to the end. As it says in Jude 1:24, “Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy.”

And again and again, throughout Scripture, the Lord rebukes those who do not believe him. He rebukes those who doubt his word, his promises, and his faithfulness.

One of the primary reasons Israel was kept out of the Promised Land was their failure to believe and obey the word of the Lord.

Which brings us back to the question we keep asking again and again: what is it about the words, “I believe, help my unbelief,” that caused Jesus to answer the man’s prayer?

Weak Faith, Strong Savior

Charles Spurgeon put it beautifully when he said:

There is the sun; I do not know how many thousands of times the sun is bigger than the earth, and yet the sun can come into a little room. And what is more, the sun can get in through a chink. So Christ can come in through a little faith, a mere chink of confidence.

I absolutely love this quote because I think it captures the heart cry behind the prayer, “Help my unbelief.”

Because we are sinful, there are times when we do struggle with doubt. When we have to fight and wrestle to believe the promises of God. When we struggle to believe that God is faithful.

If we’re honest, I think we’d all say that there are many times when faith and unbelief are mixed together in our hearts. When we believe…yet also struggle with unbelief. When we have faith, yet also feel buffeted by the waves of unbelief. Almost as if there are two warring sides within us, fighting against each other.

You know what I’m talking about…

When we’ve been praying for years for a person to be saved and it doesn’t look like God is doing anything.

When our finances are tight and we wonder if God is going to provide for us.

When we’re dealing with chronic illness and we struggle to believe that God is good.

When our marriage is difficult and we wonder how we’re going to keep going.

In those moments, we find ourselves caught in the middle between faith and unbelief. We know in our heads that God can answer our prayers and that he is good. But we struggle to believe those things in our hearts. We know that technically God can answer our prayers, but we’re not so sure that he will.

And so we cry out to God, “I believe, help my unbelief!”

When we utter this prayer, we often feel like the Lord won’t answer us because our faith is so weak.

But here’s the glorious good news. Jesus loves to respond to even the weakest, most feeble faith.

We don’t have to have perfect, flawless faith in order for Jesus to hear and answer our prayers. We don’t have to be some sort of hero of the faith for God to work mightily on our behalf.

Jesus responds to our prayers…EVEN WHEN they’re mixed with unbelief. As Spurgeon put it, Christ can come into ANY situation, even when there’s just a little chink of faith.

The glorious reality is that it’s not the strength of our faith that causes God to answer prayers, but the steadfast love of the Lord. God loves us even when our faith is weak and feeble. He delights in us even when we’re tottering on the knife-edge between faith and unbelief.

And so if we have even the smallest smidgeon of faith, God can and often does still answer our prayers. It shows how great and powerful our God is when he can take our weak, little, ineffective prayers, and turn them into something great and glorious.

So don’t give up in prayer!

  • Keep praying for your child who isn’t following the Lord.
  • Keep praying that God would provide abundantly for you.
  • Keep praying that God would bless your church plant.
  • Keep praying that will help you overcome your sin.

Yes, your faith is weak and feeble. But you serve a great Savior who can use your feeble prayers to achieve absolutely staggering things.

So don’t be afraid to cry out to the Lord, “I believe, help my unbelief!” He won’t turn a deaf ear to that prayer. If you have even the smallest bit of faith, God can do mighty things.

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9 thoughts on “Help My Unbelief! A Prayer God Loves To Answer!”

  1. We are waiting on paperwork to move. It’s several weeks late. I wonder whether it’s lost. No one seems to know.
    “But God”. He always knows, his timing is always perfect.
    Thanks for the reminder to wait in faith.


  2. Absolutely Beautiful Context, Hugh, seems to impact on a Christians daily struggle, at least for me & many apparently. You said it well, TY. What a wonderful reminder of how great his love for us is…it continually floors me.

  3. Do you think that maybe the reason that God answers such prayers is that we are, in fact, openly confessing our sin of unbelief before a host of worshipers and non-worshipers? We are not pretending, to have faith in the midsts of all these believers and non-believers standing around us.

    No, we have come before the Lord and a whole host of persons with our hearts exposed for all to see and for all to hear our honest and humble confession. I think that it is because of this spirit of honesty, humility, and confession that the Lord is responding to.

  4. Amen Brother Stephen!! From The Book of Matt. 17:20 Jesus said, if we have Faith the size of a grain of mustard seed that we would be able to speak to whatever mountain, obstacle that is preventing, us to move forward. He has giving us the power to say to such things; remove from this place to that other place away from us and we shall have whatsoever we say, it has to remove itself; and nothing shall be impossible unto us, isn’t that good news! All things are possible to those that believe and yes, there are times when we doubt God, well we don’t actually doubt The Power of God because we Know that God is Able to do just what He said He would do but we’re not sure if we have been obedient enough for God to perform a miracle in our lives. I am so glad that God does not hold my sin against me knowing rather I my heart is sincere towards He and when I do sin it is not intentional I’m not a practicing sin meaning that I sin purposely but I sin because I have not arrived to perfection yet and I will not until my Lord and Savior call me Home to live with Him forever in eternity. My belief and what I know of God’s Great Character is that He is not like man. He looks at the heart for sincerity. God knows if we are really sincere about what we are asking Him to do and also if it is in our best interest or even beneficial for us. God wants us to have great faith, unwavering faith but obviously/ Supernaturally because GOD is sovereign and He is ALL knowing He knows EVERYTHING and that gives Him ALL CONTROL and ABILITY to know our heart and what is best for us. So yes!! This is sooo Amazing to know that GOD has Mercy on us even when we have little doubt. HALLELUJAH!!! Thank you Lord for looking beyond our felts and supply our needs. Thank you Lord Jesus!!! I believe that as long as we can believe that GOD IS ABLE to perform that which HE has said, that is enough Faith for Him to perform miracles in the lives of His people. Praise God for His mercy and His miracles and Thank you Bro. Stephen for allowing me to Share! May God Bless and keep you and May He take you to Higher Heights in Him!

  5. The post was simply and beautifully conveyed to my yearning heart this evening. Thank you. I’ve come into a season where I find myself questioning and conflicted in my belief. This space I find myself is made scarier as I’m a leader in my local church. I’m not turning away from the Lord, but there’s a constant wrestling with verses that I simple believed. I become anxious, although Paul says be anxious for nothing. A few weeks ago, I said to myself, “I’m feel like I’m drifting away.” In the same breath, as if the Lord said it himself, I said, “but Lord, I’m drifting into place.” I asked him this evening in prayer to help my unbelief toward his Word, his plans, myself in Jesus, and I received peace for this moment. It gives such assurance in knowing God isn’t shocked or embarrassed by our inner struggles, but is pleased to help, comfort, and demonstrate his power, as it draws us nearer to Him.
    Again, thank you for posting. This is my first post I read by you found on a google search. I plan to look at your others.

  6. Thank you very much. This is my prayer today for God to help my unbelief as I feel my faith being tested in so many ways . Your message spoke to my heart and uplifted me. God bless you


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