I Believe – Help My Unbelief

You know the story. It is found in Mark 9:14-27.

The Situation in the Passage

A man’s son was possessed by an evil and violent spirit. This spirit gave the boy convulsions and cast him into fire and water threatening his destruction. It is easy to imagine that this father had tried everything he could think of and probably struggled with hopelessness. He asked the disciples to cast out the spirit but they were not able to cast it out.

Then Jesus enters the scene. In desperation, the man pleads for his son: If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us. Jesus responds: If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.

The man gives his classic reply: I believe; help my unbelief.

Your Situation in Life

Perhaps you have experienced this tension in your life. You believe but sometimes struggle with unbelief, especially when things seem to be spinning out of control. The prayer of this man might be your prayer: I believe; help my unbelief.

If so, you can be encouraged by two things in this passage:

1. The man’s incomplete faith was enough: Jesus responded to the man’s desperate request; he rebuked and drove out the evil spirit (vs. 25-27).

In situations where this is your prayer, it is enough for Jesus to work. You need to look to him to give you the grace to believe and to pray as this man prayed.

2. Faith is more than inner comfort—it changes human reality. When Jesus acts, situations change; when Jesus is present, the impossible can happen.

Even this week, you may face times of difficulty and doubt, of feeling like things are beginning to spin out of control. This passage is an encouragement to bring those things to Jesus knowing that you can pray, I believe; help my unbelief, and it will be enough for you to experience the presence and grace of Jesus.


About Dr. John H. Harbison

Son of God, Husband, Father, Author of "Keeping Christ in Ministry,"Vice-President for Academic Affairs, College Pastor, Runner, Writer
This entry was posted in Successful Christian Living and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to I Believe – Help My Unbelief

  1. ajharbison says:

    Thanks for posting this. The first point is very comforting–even incomplete faith is enough!

    • John H. Harbison says:

      Thanks for the reply. The wavering of faith can be discouraging so, like you, I found comfort from the passage

  2. Pat says:

    Yes indeed Thanks for posting this,I am in that place right now and I feel so helpless,it’s so good to know that “incomplete faith is enough”!! I’ll just have to wait,because God’s timing is perfect,but it seems so long.
    Love you brother 😀

  3. writinggomer says:

    Thank you for this encouraging post. Faith as small as a mustard seed…

  4. With God, nothing is impossible!

    • John H. Harbison says:

      Hi Holly,

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. It is true that with God nothing is impossible but at times I struggle with my fool heart to live the reality. I’m very thankful for grace.

  5. Steve Martin says:

    There is a part of me determined to remain an unbeliever. But Christ Jesus is determined to keep me in faith, and restores me and encourages me.

    He used you to do it, this time.

    Thank you for your encouraging post.

    • John H. Harbison says:


      Thanks for taking time to comment on my blog. It is humbling to know my simple blog can help others. So glad you were encouraged. I share the struggle and find Jesus restores and encourages me as well.

  6. shena says:

    I do struggle like all, and this is blog was somewhat comforting, somewhat in that, I still try to grasp the very thing that I am trying to understand like the father in the story.
    This is the wonder of the internet you do not have to be in a certain place
    to be a blessing with the right word spoken in the right time, also even when you have forgotten the internet didn’t.
    Thank you for the word.

    • John H. Harbison says:

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Shena. As you mention, we all are in the struggle with some comfort and incomplete understanding.

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