PRAY: Ask God to open your eyes to the truth of His Word and how it applies to your life. Ask Him to conform you to the image of His Son, rather than to the world.
READ: Mark 9:14–29
“I do believe! Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24).
“I believe! I believe that we will win!” So goes the chant so often in sports arenas when the home team is down but there is still a chance to come back. A few fans begin the chant and then it swells into an entire stadium or arena, shouting in unison. Although the chant is an encouragement to the team on the field or court, it is also an encouragement to the fans themselves as they find that common bond of cheering their team on to victory against the odds. If fans are honest, even though we want our team to win, sometimes the doubt is like a dark cloud hovering overhead and we struggle to find faith. Our participation in the chant is therapeutic in trying to make ourselves believe.
Jesus encounters a father whose son has been demonized and the disciples have been unable to cast out the demon for one reason or another. Throughout the Gospel of Mark, Jesus demonstrates that He truly is the Son of God and has all the power that comes with His identity. Even demons recognize Him as such (Son of God or Son of the Most High are how demons always address Jesus). The father of the demonized man reveals his own struggle with faith by saying, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22). Jesus’ response shows how ridiculous this doubt really is: “If You can? Everything is possible to the one who believes” (Mark 9:23).
The father then makes a statement that cuts me to the core because it verbalizes my own struggle with faith: “I do believe! Help my unbelief” (Mark 9:24). As followers of Jesus, we know that Jesus is able to do all things, but many times we doubt whether He actually will. We have every reason to believe, given what we know Jesus has done in the past, but yet we still wrestle with the ability to believe. Sometimes we attempt to fake our faith as if we are some super-Christian. Let’s be honest with ourselves and with Jesus and exclaim the truth: “I do believe! Help my unbelief.”
Jesus drove out the demon and explained to His disciples that “this kind can come out by nothing but prayer” (some translations add “and fasting”). It is unclear as to whether this was a particularly powerful demon or that the disciples just needed more focused prayer to help their own faith in delivering this man from the demon. No evil, no person, no circumstance is too much for the Son of God. Nothing is impossible with God (Mark 10:27) and everything is possible to the one who believes (Mark 9:23).
1. What areas of unbelief or doubt exist in your life? Where do you struggle to believe? Ask Jesus to help you believe, as faith is a gift from God. (See Eph. 2:8)
2. Keep in mind that God is faithful to His promises, but that does not mean that everything we want Him to do will be met with a “yes.” Pray for God to align your heart with His and to conform your desires to His will.
3. Do you take prayer seriously? How often do you pray and what can you do to make this a priority in your life?