When I first read the title of this part of the chapter, I became so defensive! I don’t have unbelief, I kept saying to myself. Right?? Why would I do a “bible study” and be half-way through this book if I was filled with unbelief? Well, a quick look at this scripture stopped me in my tracks…oh, the unbelief!!
22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:22-24)
How often do we pray, Lord, if You can? And in those words lies my unbelief. I don’t approach God with the confidence that He can, but I doubt and ask if.
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)
I have so little faith in a God that has never once given me a reason to doubt. Think about that for a moment. God ‘s Word is true, it’s alive, it’s as good today as it was when it was first written, yet I still have that unbelief that when I approach the throne of God, He might not be able to do something I ask.
Jesus used the term “faithless generation” and sadly, I can see how this generation is still faithless. Some don’t even know God, or chose to believe He doesn’t exist. But I am also part of that generation in that I question (although before reading this part of the chapter, never realized I did) whether God can do something. YES HE CAN!!!! He’s God, and with Him NOTHING is impossible.
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)
And this is where faith and prayer go hand in hand. In our prayer, we must believe. We cannot doubt. Jesus bridges that gap and lifts us up when we cannot, but we have the knowledge and power of God’s Word, that we have no reason to not believe. Our faith in our prayers to God should be unshakable.
“What do you mean, “if there’s anything?” All things are possible, if you only believe”. (Mark 9:23. The Voice)
And it began to all make sense when I read this verse in Hebrews:
6 “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)
And I can approach God because I believe in Him! I can’t approach God if I don’t believe in Him and what He can do. Yes…it’s really that simple. And that goes into our prayers too. If we don’t believe that God can answer them, then why bother going through the motions?
The belief I have in God gives me faith in my prayers I send to God. Faith that He will answer them. And my faith is built through studying of God’s Word, praying, and even fasting. I must continue to feed my faith if I am to deepen my belief. You cannot be careless with one’s faith.
It’s really important to know that just because we ask for something, no matter how strong our faith is, to know that God will be more than happy to answer the prayer, provided it aligns itself with His will. What we ask for must please God and bring Him glory to further His Kingdom here on earth.
The goal of our prayers cannot be self-seeking. Sure, we can ask for prayers for ourselves and those we love, but we need to make sure our hearts are in the right place. I’m not in least bit saying this is easy, and I will be the first to say that I can be very self-seeking when I approach God in prayer. But my faith and belief in God will allow me to let go of that.
Until that time,
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24b)