A Most Honest Prayer

“Help my unbelief.”

This petition was presented to Jesus by a man with a demon-afflicted son. He had brought the boy to Christ’s disciples for deliverance. At first, no relief came. Then, Jesus showed up, fresh from His transfiguration on the mount with Peter, James, and John (see Mark 9).

“Believe,” Jesus told the father, “and all things are possible.” Shaken and in tears, this man cried out, “Lord, I do believe; help my unbelief.” Jesus did heal this father’s son, delivering the boy with a word to the spirit plaguing him. What a help this must have been to his unbelief.

“Help my unbelief.”

To me, it’s one of the most honest prayers ever prayed, and it is a prayer we should pray more readily. We do a lot of talking to God rather than just getting to the point. We believe, but not so much. Try as we might, we really cannot make ourselves believe more or believe better. The sooner we get to the “Help, Lord” part of the conversation the better.

Our only hope is in Him.

Jesus and Unbelief

I think we are always in various stages of unbelief and will be until the day we look full in Jesus’ wonderful face. Then, as the old hymn teaches us, the things of earth one day will “grow strangely dim.” Then His glory and His grace shall fully illuminate us and our surroundings. What a great day that will be.

Now, however, the “things” get in the way. Jesus knows this so very well, as we read in Hebrews 4:15 – “ For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.”

Consider this: Jesus said “if” and Jesus asked “why?”

In Gethsemane, the atmosphere beclouded and thick with hellish activity, our Savior sensed the weight of our doubts and our fears. He wondered aloud about the bitter cup before Him, “saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me” (see Luke 22:42).

On Golgotha, the time of darkness and separation came and, lifted up, Jesus hung alone with the judgment of all sin laid upon Him. The Father and Spirit could only watch as the Son bore the weight of divine wrath and the full measure of justice. This midday night season of three hours pressed Him sore to cry, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46; Mark 15:34).

Jesus ... can meet us in our unbelief because He weathered His moments of 'if' and 'why.' Click To Tweet

Jesus was fully God and yet fully man, and so He tasted, heard, saw, and felt everything as a man would. From the garden to the cross to the grave, Christ operated in faith as the Son of Man. Every statement He made was a statement of truth. He asked forgiveness for those who put Him on the Cross. There also came a promise, a charge, a lament, a request, and, at last, a declaration and a commitment.

The Word made flesh trusted the Word. He can meet us in our unbelief because He weathered His moments of “if” and “why” during His walk on earth. He intercedes for us now as a great High Priest acquainted with our weaknesses.

The Answer from the Word

“Help my unbelief.”

Is that your prayer today? Jesus can answer you.

How? I believe He does it with His Word.

In Luke 24, we read of two fearful and frightened disciples who ran away. These followers of Jesus got word of His resurrection — and panicked. Women went early to the tomb and found it empty and encountered an angel who proclaimed, “He is risen.” These reports astonished them and they headed toward Emmaus, a town a day’s journey from Jerusalem.

On the road, Jesus joined these anxious ones, but cloaked His identity. He warmed their hearts with the Scriptures and answered their fears as they walked along. At supper, Jesus broke the bread and showed Himself alive to them.

With their eyes opened, these men at once were full of purpose – and courage.  They dashed back to Jerusalem to proclaim, “He’s alive,” to the others.

Jesus met them there, too. “Peace be unto you,” He said upon His appearance in the room.

“Help my unbelief.”

May we pray this more and more, and delight in the results.

For more on how God helps our unbelief, please check out “Live in the Obedience of the One Resurrected,” a message from Thomas Schaller, Pastor of Greater Grace Church in Baltimore.





Steve Andrulonis
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