Help for Unbelief (Mark 9:23–24) - Radical

Help for Unbelief (Mark 9:23–24)

“And Jesus said to him, if you can, all things are possible for one who believes immediately the father of the child cried out and said, I believe, help my unbelief.”
– Mark 9:23–24

What a verse, what a story. This dad is pleading to Jesus for help for his son who has an unclean spirit. It drives him to fall on the ground and roll around and foam at the mouth. And it’s caused him to be cast into fire and water to destroy him.

Mark 9:23–24 Pictures a Man’s Heart longing for Faith

This dad just says, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us”. That’s when Jesus says to him, “If you can, all things are possible for one who believes”. And immediately this dad cries out to Jesus and says, “I believe. Help my unbelief”. What a picture of faith and longing for more faith.

Doesn’t this summarize our lives in so many ways? There’s a level of faith that we as followers of Jesus have, but we long for more faith. We want God’s help. We want God’s help and our unbelief in our lack of faith.

I’ll just share personally how I have experienced this, especially over recent years. I have been praying and pleading before God that he would open the door for us to go and bring our son home from another country. As we’re in the middle of an adoption process that was put on pause three years ago in light of covid in January, 2020. We’ve been waiting for three years and praying.

And there have been many times, just honestly when I’ve been praying and I’m, I’m saying the words and I know the answers. I know God has all power and all authority and I know God is able to do the miraculous, but as I’m praying, I feel unbelief in my praying, like does it even matter that I’m praying? Or is this really possible that it’s going to happen today?

And I have found myself continually saying, “I believe. Help my unbelief.” And I want to grow in faith. I want to grow in my belief, in my trust in God to do that which is miraculous, that which cannot be done apart from him.

And so to read Jesus say, “If you can, all things are possible for one who believes.” I’m guessing there are others of you who struggle with faith in different ways and maybe even some specific circumstances you’re walking through where you need help in your unbelief. And I just want to pray over you even as I pray this over myself, and really for all of us who would say we believe, but help our unbelief.

God, we pray that right now in each of our lives amidst a variety of things going on in our lives, we believe, we trust in you. We’re praying because we believe in you. We believe you are who your word says you are. We believe you are holy and wise and good and powerful and sovereign, in control overall.

And God, we pray that you would help our unbelief in various circumstances that we’re walking through. God, we pray that you would help us to trust you, to trust all these things we know about you in even greater ways. And to believe that you have power to do the miraculous today if that is best.

God, I pray for that. I pray for that for my son. God, I pray that you would open the door today for us to go to him, him to come to us. I pray that for other people in light of specific things they’re asking for that you would give us faith in our asking, and a kind of faith that trusts you’re able and you will do that today, what we’re asking, if that is best, but you will not if that is not best, then we can trust you all the more so help our unbelief when you don’t answer in the way we are crying out for you to answer.

Praying for the Arya People of India

God, I think about people around the world who are trying to share the gospel in really hard places. I think about the Arya people in India, hundreds of thousands of them, no known followers of Jesus, maybe some secret followers of Jesus. God, we pray with faith for the Arya of people in India. We pray for the spread of the gospel, them with faith.

Lord, we trust that you have power to save them. We pray that you would bring it about for them and fathousands of other people, groups like them that are unreached, many of them hard and difficult or dangerous to reach, God, we pray with faith for their salvation and we pray that you would send out workers with faith and belief and trust in you to do the miraculous.

God we pray together in light of Mark 9:23–24, we believe help our unbelief in Jesus’ name, amen.

David Platt serves as a pastor in metro Washington, D.C. He is the founder of Radical.

David received his Ph.D. from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and is the author of Don’t Hold Back, Radical, Follow MeCounter CultureSomething Needs to ChangeBefore You Vote, as well as the multiple volumes of the Christ-Centered Exposition Commentary series.

Along with his wife and children, he lives in the Washington, D.C. metro area.


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