New Testament Prayers

Wednesday: Help My Unbelief


Introduction

We are so glad you are joining us for these daily prayer posts. Over the next four weeks we are going to listen to the prayers of the Bible, and the saints of God. Their prayers are going to teach us how to pray.

Each devotion will take five to seven minutes of your time.

  1. We will look at an insight from those who know something important about prayer.
  2. We will listen to the prayers of people in the Bible—people just like us. And to people who gained a deep measure of spiritual intimacy with God because they prayed.
  3. We will reflect, asking the same four questions each day that invites us to look and listen with intent.
  4. And we will pray, for it is in praying that we learn to pray. And it is in praying that the Spirit changes our hearts.

May we encourage you to grab a notebook, a journal, something to write on as you do each prayer guide. Yes, it will add a few minutes to the time it takes to do the devotion, and it will also deepen your experience and shape your walk with God for years to come.

Look

If prayer stands as the place where God and human beings meet, then I must learn about prayer. Most of my struggles in the Christian life circle around the same two themes: why God doesn't act the way we want God to, and why I don't act the way God wants me to. Prayer is the precise point where those themes converge.

Phillip Yancey

Listen

Yesterday we looked at the prayer of a man with great faith; today we look at the prayer of a man with shaky faith. A father desperately wants healing for his demon-possessed son, but he's been fooled by false hope many times before (including an unsuccessful exorcism attempt by Jesus' disciples). Why would this healer be any different? Still, he can't help but ask. And just like the centurion's confident request of Jesus was actually a prayer to God Himself, so this man's feeble and unsure request was just as much a prayer.

Mark 9:21-24

21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”

Reflect

  1. Having read the Word, sit silently for a minute and give God’s Word a moment to settle within you.
  2. Re-read the verses slowly and write down some thoughts that resonate with you.
  3. Ask the Spirit to help you see the deeper longings, desires or motives in your heart that those thoughts are pointing to. (for example: you may write down, “The father was torn between faith and doubt." The Spirit can give you the insight and courage you need to name with honesty the places in your heart where you are also torn between faith and doubt.)
  4. In what ways do you personally relate to the father's prayer request (in bold type above), with the things you pray about?

Pray

Although faith of the centurion and the faith of the boy's father were in different places of development, here is one thing they had in common: Jesus answered both prayer requests. It seems He wasn't kidding when He talked about the power of even the tiniest bit of faith (see Matthew 17:20).

If there is any part of your faith that is still developing (and surely there is in each of us), make this man's prayer your own prayer today: "I believe; help my unbelief!" Use that prayer to talk to God about some things in your life you are struggling to trust Him with. Right now.