Mercy Street Church of Christ
Abilene, TX
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I do believe, help my unbelief!

I do believe, help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24)

Let’s do some basic chemistry. We know that a water molecule is made out of two elements: hydrogen and oxygen. Both elements must be present for water to exist. If either is missing, it wouldn’t be water.

In a similar way, intercessory prayer has two essential components: proclaiming our faith and crying out to the Lord. And that’s exactly what today’s reading in Mark 9 shows us.

Imagine yourself standing in the middle of today’s scene. A man is imploring Jesus to heal his son, and Jesus replies by telling him, “Everything is possible to one who has faith” (Mark 9:23). This is when the man utters one of the shortest prayers in the whole Bible: “I do believe, help my unbelief!” In just a few words, he has perfectly encapsulated both of the necessary components of prayer.

First, he says, “I do believe” (Mark 9:24). Perhaps he has heard stories about Jesus’ healing power or life-giving words. With the confidence of a new and growing faith, he decides to bring his son to Jesus. He hopes that the confidence he is beginning to feel will be rewarded by a miracle.

But next, he says, “Help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24). As confident as he is, the man also realizes his weakness. Maybe his new faith isn’t all that strong yet; maybe he has some doubts that Jesus can heal his son—especially since the disciples couldn’t do it. But it doesn’t matter. He is not ashamed to cry out to Jesus, and he acknowledges his need in honesty and humility.

Today, make sure that your prayer of intercession is just as complete as this man’s. Tell Jesus you believe. Take the Apostle’s Creed, and proclaim each tenet of the faith with all the conviction you can muster. Or take Psalm 93 and read it aloud, proclaiming your trust in the Lord. Then, ask Jesus to help your unbelief. Bring him your struggles; if a family member is suffering, ask Jesus to help you believe that he is with them. Or if you worry that you can’t witness to your faith, ask him to remind you of the ways he has worked through you in the past.

Keep these two components together, and you’ll feel God’s presence wash over you like cool, clear water.

“I believe, Lord! Help my unbelief.”

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