I’ve been reading through the Gospel of Mark in my early morning times with Jesus. As I’ve been reading, I have been struck by how many times Jesus says, “Your faith has made you well” (Mark 5:34). He said this to the woman healed of hemorrhaging, to Blind Bartimaeus (Mark 10:52), and to others. As I’ve been mulling this over, I’ve been pondering the question, what part does our faith play in how God moves? And what do you do if your faith is weak? How can you strengthen your weak faith?
A man once came to Jesus with his son. He was distraught with worry and anxiety. His son was demon-possessed and often the demon would give the son epileptic fits and throw him into the fire. Can you imagine? This poor Dad was exhausted trying to care for his son with special needs. He came in a desperate search for Jesus. He had already asked Jesus’s disciples to cast out the demon and heal his son, but they were unable (Mark 9:14-29). Discouraged, he brought his son to Jesus, and cried out, “If you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” Jesus questioned, “If you can? … Everything is possible for one who believes!” (Mark 9:23). Those words give me pause. Is everything really possible for those who believe? How does faith play into answered prayer?
The desperate father answered with such humble self-awareness, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:14). Jesus then cast out the demon and the boy was healed.
As I consider this story, I see 3 principles that apply to our prayer lives:
Humility. The first principle is humility. When we come before God, we need to be honest. Most of the time our faith isn’t as strong as we’d like it to be. Like the Father in this story, our hearts cry out, “God, help! I do have faith but help me to have stronger faith. Help me with my unbelief!” We can see through church history that God honors humility. Author Andrew Murray wrote, “Humility is simply the sense of entire nothingness that comes when we see how truly God is all, and in which we make way for God to be all” I love that quote because when we humbly admit we’ve got nothing, we make way for God to be everything in our situation.
Persistence. The father’s persistence in this story astounds me. He felt disillusioned with Jesus’ disciples because they were unable to cast out the demon. A trend I see in churches today is the church disappoints or lets people down. Instead of continuing to press into Jesus, people walk away disheartened and as a result, they chuck their faith. The father in Mark 9 is persistent. Was he disappointed that the disciples couldn’t meet his expectations? Sure. Did he give up on Jesus? Nope. He chased Jesus more passionately. He didn’t give up.
In your prayer life and mine, I wonder how many answers we never see because we become disillusioned and give up? God honors persistent faith! (Luke11:5-8). Even if your faith is small, don’t give up. Keep pressing into Jesus with prayer.
Loyalty. The father in this story is tremendously loyal to his son. He loves his son beyond any other and is willing to take a risk to find Jesus and ask for the miracle he wants. When you consider your prayer life, who has your loyalty? Who are you consistently praying for with persistence? I believe God is looking for a few loyal people to take up the mantel of intercession on behalf of their families, their friends, their churches, and their nation.
Intercession is a vital calling. In your prayer life this week, ask God for the grace to be humble, persistent, and loyal. When your faith feels tiny, ask God to multiply and strengthen it.
This week, my interviews go live on Family Life Today! You can check out the series here: https://www.familylife.com/podcast/series/how-to-listen-so-your-kids-will-talk/
To find out what time the program will air on a station in your area, visit our website www.FamilyLifeToday.com for local station information.
Please pray with me that these interviews would touch the hearts of many parents. And, if you or a friend you know have kids in the home, order a copy of How To Listen So Your Kids Will Talk. Let’s strengthen families together!
 Andrew Murray, Humility (Gainesville, FL; Bridge-Logos Publishers, 2000), 4