Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
The father had watched his son suffer his entire life. He was often seized by a spirit which would send him crashing to the ground, sometimes into a fire at others into the water. That he had survived this long may have been because of the love of the father who watched over and cared for him. Now he saw his opportunity — maybe this Jesus could save his son! But he wasn’t quite sure!
He asked Jesus to have pity on him and help, if he could. And there was the problem — the “if” of that statement. Jesus then spoke to the need of the man. Jesus can do this — but the father needs to believe in Jesus. Obviously he just wasn’t totally convinced that Jesus would be capable of taking care of his son. The father realized his own deficiency of faith and that he was the one who needed spiritual healing. While he wanted the spirit to be cast out of his son, he needed to have his unbelief cast out! He had some faith — but was not filled with faith and needed every part which was not filled with belief in Christ to be healed of that unbelief.
It was not Jesus who needed to pray for strength to heal the boy — he had the power! The problem was the faith of the father and he was the one who was in need of prayer.
Jesus is just as powerful today as he was then. He invites us into his kingdom through prayer. It is in prayer that he begins to shape and form us, filling up the spaces of our unbelief with complete and total faith in him. We are in need of healing before he is able to work in and through us.
The father was willing to blurt out his deepest need — “help my unbelief!” This was his greatest need and not until we are able to confess our unbelief can we be healed of our need. Too often we come to the Lord with our wish list of prayer requests when what we really need is his healing touch in regard to our faith. We may be right there with the dad — I do believe — at least somewhat. But when things get tough I struggle with my faith and unbelief begins to creep in and it gives space to doubt. I do believe — but please help me with the areas of my unbelief. It is in that space that we realize that our faith is not in what Jesus does for us, but in Jesus alone!
Lord, take the space of my unbelief and so fill it with belief in you that it flows out of every part of my being! Amen.
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