Mark 9:24b - Faith Comes Alive!
Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief. Mark 9:24b (KJV)
Since faith is never perfect, belief and unbelief are often
mixed. [NIV SB]
Human faith is never perfect. The prayer for overcoming unbelief
is appropriate for all people. [Disciple SB]
The father would not have brought his son if he had not already
possessed a measure of faith. [SDA Commentary]
In a moment of honest self-examination, the father of the
demon-possessed boy acknowledged both belief and unbelief. He believed that
Jesus could restore his son to health, but he questioned whether Jesus
would do so. Sometimes we feel the same way. We see how God has
delivered others and believe that God is able to help, but we are afraid
that God will refuse to help us. Perhaps we are afraid that God will
think us unworthy of his deliverance. God never works that way. Not
only is he able to help us, but he also wants to help us. All we have
to do is turn to him in faith, ask for his help and forgiveness,
and do what we can to follow his revealed will for us. God will do
the rest. [Life Recovery SB]
As soon as the consciousness of belief dawned upon the father,
and the effort to exercise it was put forth, there sprang up a
consciousness of its imperfection. He would never have known that he did not
believe unless he had tried to believe.... So the little spark of faith
in this man's heart, like a taper in a cavern, showed the abysses
of darkness that lay illumined round about it.
There follows from that thought this practical lesson, that the
discovery of much unbelief should never make a man doubt the reality or
genuineness of his little faith. We are all apt to write needlessly bitter
things against ourselves when we get a glimpse of the incompleteness of
our Christian life and character. But there is no reason why a man
should fancy that he is a hypocrite because he finds out that he is not
a perfect believer.... Let us remember that the main thing is not
the maturity, but the progressive character of faith....
Like this agonized father in our story, fall at His feet with
"Lord, I believe; help Thou mine unbelief," and He will confirm your
feeble faith by His rich response. (Alexander Maclaren) [Spirit Filled
Life Devotional SB]
Perhaps the first lesson for us in this story is that God does
not demand perfect faith in people. We do believe. But we still need
help for our unbelief. Jesus accepts even imperfect faith and
generously works His miracles in our lives. As we continue to grow in our
relationships with Him, He does indeed "help our unbelief," gradually
replacing it with a more perfect trust in Him. [Victor Teacher's
The most feeble effort of faith will find its reward. This is
demonstrated in the healing of a man's son. Actually it is the story of Jesus
guiding this man to faith. Jesus did this by allaying the man's fear and
suggesting the power of faith. In the communication between Jesus and the
needy father, the father's weak faith dared reach out toward its
perfection. His prayers and tears were expressions of his humility. As he
voiced his need, Jesus nourished his weak faith by showing him the
possibilities of faith. Healing was possible if he would exercise faith. As he
concurred with Jesus in faith, and prayed concerning his weak faith, the
answer came. [Daily Devotional Bible]
Dear Christian, remember to take good care of your faith, for
faith is the only way to obtain God's blessings. Prayer alone cannot
bring answers down from His throne, because it is the earnest prayer
of one who believes that leads to answers.
Faith is the communication link between heaven and earth. It is
on this link of faith that God's messages of love travel so quickly
that even before we ask, He answers. And while we are still speaking,
"he hears us" (1 John 5:14). So when the connection of faith is
broken, how will we obtain His promises?
Am I in trouble? I can receive help by expressing faith. Am I
being battered by the Enemy? My soul will find refuge by leaning in
faith upon God. But without faith, I call to Him in vain, for faith is
the only road between my soul and heaven. If the road is blocked,
how can I communicate with the great King?
Faith links me to Holy God and clothes me with the power of
Jehovah. Faith insures me that each of His attributes will be used in my
defense, helping me to defy the hosts of hell. It causes me to march
triumphantly over the necks of my enemies. So without faith, how can I
receive anything from the Lord?
Therefore, O Christian, carefully watch your faith. "Everything
is possible for him who believes" (Mark 9:23). Charles H. Spurgeon
[Streams In The Desert By Cowman]
The point here is not that the believer's faith enables God to
work. God is not limited by our lack of faith. The point is that our
ability to receive is limited by the absence of faith.
The father's response reveals a struggle that goes on in all of
us. "I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief!" (9:24) is the
honest confession of a person who has believed enough to bring his son
to Jesus, yet whose doubts and fears continue to trouble him. It is
important here to note that despite the man's confession of his inner
struggle, Jesus did heal the son. Christ does not demand that we have an
unwavering faith in order to act for us. He does require that we have
enough faith to be open to the possibility of God's miraculous
intervention in our lives, however dark the doubts that swirl within our
The disciples had assumed that they still possessed the power
once granted to them by Christ. Yet no spiritual authority is
inherent in God's gifts: every spiritual authority is exercised by God
through His chosen vessels.
Thus the significance of prayer, not as a ritual, but as an
expression of conscious, humble dependence on God. The disciples had
approached this healing without this kind of faith,...
while Jesus has all power, it requires faith to open up our
lives to an experience of that power. This does not mean that we must
have a perfect faith. In all of us, faith and unbelief remain in
tension. But we must have enough faith to come to Jesus and appeal to Him
if He is to act for us....
If we are to be used by God in the lives of others, our faith
must be focused on God rather than on any gifts He may have granted
us. Faith which exists as continual dependence on the Lord--a faith
often expressed by Jesus Himself in prayer--can make us channels of
blessing to others.
How important then that we remain rooted in the simple
conviction that "Jesus can" and that "Only Jesus can." [Victor Bible
The "everything" mentioned here does not always come simply by
asking, because God is always seeking to teach you the way of faith.
Your training for a life of faith requires many areas of learning,
including the trial of faith, the discipline of faith, the patience of
faith, and the courage of faith. Often you will pass through many
stages before you finally realize the result of faith - namely, the
victory of faith.
Genuine moral fiber is developed by enduring the discipline of
faith. When you have made your request to God, and the answer still has
not come, what are you to do? Keep on believing His Word! Never be
swayed from it by what you may see or feel. Then as you stand firm,
your power and experience is being developed, strengthened, and
deepened. When you remain unswayed from your stance of faith, even in view
of supposed contradictions to God's Word, you grow stronger on
God will often purposely delay in giving you His answer, and in
fact the delay is just as much an answer to your prayer as is the
fulfillment when it comes. He worked this way in the lives of all the great
Bible characters. Abraham, Moses, and Elijah were not great in the
beginning but made great through the discipline of their faith. Only
through that discipline were they then equipped for the work to which
God had called them.
Think, for example, of Joseph, whom the Lord was training for
the throne of Egypt. Psalm 105:19 (KJV) says, "The word of the LORD
tried him. " It was not the prison life with its hard beds or poor
food that "tried him" but "the word of the LORD." The words God spoke
into his heart in his early years, concerning his elevated place of
honor above his brothers, were the words that were always before him.
He remained alone in prison, in spite of his innocence, and watched
others being released who were justly incarcerated. Yet he remembered
God's words even when every step of his career made fulfillment seem
more and more impossible.
These were the times that tried his soul, but they were also the
times of his spiritual growth and development. Then when word of his
release from prison finally came, he was found ready and equipped for
the delicate task of dealing with his wayward brothers. And he was
able to do so with a love and a patience only surpassed by God
No amount of persecution will try you as much as experiences
like these - ones in which you are required to wait on God. Once He
has spoken His promise to work, it is truly hard to wait as you see
the days go by with no fulfillment. Yet it is this discipline of
faith that will bring you into a knowledge of God that would otherwise
be impossible. [Streams In The Desert By Cowman]
The attitude of trust and confidence that the Bible calls belief
or faith (Hebrews 11:1, 6) is not something we can obtain without
help. Faith is a gift from God (Ephes. 2:8-9). No matter how much
faith we have, we never reach the point of being self-sufficient.
Faith is not stored away like money in the bank. Growing in faith is a
constant process of daily renewing our trust in Jesus. [Life Application
Some of you pray like a Concorde jet - smooth, sleek, high, and
mighty. Your words reverberate in the clouds and send sonic booms
throughout the heavens. If you pray like a Concorde, I salute you. If you
don't, I understand.
Maybe you are like me, more a crop duster than a Concorde. You
aren't flashy, you fly low, you seem to cover the same ground a lot,
and some mornings It's tough to get the old engine cranked up.
Most of us are like that. Most of our prayer lives could use a
Some prayer lives lack consistency. They're either a desert or
an oasis.... We go days or weeks without consistent prayer, but
then something happens - we hear a sermon, read a book, experience a
tragedy - something leads us to pray, so we dive in. We submerge
ourselves in prayer and leave refreshed and renewed. But as the journey
resumes, our prayers don't.
Others of us need sincerity. Our prayers are a bit hollow,
memorized, and rigid. More liturgy than life. And though they are daily,
they are dull. Still others lack, well, honesty. We honestly wonder
if prayer makes a difference.. Why on earth would God in heaven
want to talk to me?...
If you struggle with prayer, I've got just the guy for you.
Don't worry, he's not a monastic saint. He's not a callused-kneed
apostle. Nor is he a prophet whose middle name is meditation. He's not a
too-holy-to-be-you reminder of how far you need to go in prayer. He's just the
opposite. A fellow crop duster. A parent with a sick son in need of a
miracle. The father's prayer isn't much, but the answer is, and the
result reminds us: The power is not in the prayer; it's in the one who
He prayed out of desperation. His son, his only son, was
demon-possessed. Not only was he a deaf mute and an epileptic, he was also
possessed by an evil spirit. Ever since the boy was young, the demon had
thrown him into fires and water.
Imagine the pain of the father. Other dads could watch their
children grow and mature, he could only watch his suffer. While others
were teaching their sons an occupation, he was just trying to keep
his son alive....
He was desperate and tired, and his prayer reflects both.
"If you can do anything for him, please have pity on us and help
Listen to that prayer. Does it sound courageous? Confident?
One word would have made a lot of difference. Instead of if,
what if he'd said since? "Since you can do anything for him, please
have pity on us and help us."
But that's not what he said. He said if. The Greek is even more
emphatic. The tense implies doubt. It's as if the man were saying, "This
one's probably out of your league, but if you can...."
A classic crop-duster appeal. More meek than might. More timid
than towering. More like a crippled lamb coming to a shepherd than a
proud lion roaring in the jungle. If his prayer sounds like yours,
then don't be discouraged, for that's where prayer begins.
It begins as a yearning. An honest appeal. Ordinary people
staring at Mount Everest. No pretense. No boasting. No posturing. Just
prayer. Feeble prayer, but prayer nonetheless. (He Still Moves Stones
by Max Lucado) [Inspirational SB]
Prayer serves to remind us of who God is, and our dependence on
Him.. When we pray we're reminded of who God is, and our faith is
increased. Prayer is an antidote to unbelief, because it shifts our focus
from what we can or cannot do to the LORD, who can do all things.
[The 365-Day Devotional Commentary]
For the challenges of our lives as Jesus' disciples we must
rely, not on our own strength, but completely on God's. And we express
that dependence most perfectly in prayer. [Victor Teacher's
Those that complain of unbelief, must look up to Christ for
grace to help them against it, and his grace shall be sufficient for
them. (Matthew Henry's Commentary)
You have to talk faith, you have to live faith, you have to act
faith, that you may have an increase of faith; and thus exercising that
living faith you will grow to strong men and women in Christ Jesus.
Faith opens up possibilities that remain closed to unbelief.
[College Press NIV Commentary]
Faith--Prayer, not personal power, is essential for miracles.
Jesus' words do not mean that we can automatically obtain
anything we want if we just think positively. Jesus meant that anything
is possible if we believe, because nothing is too difficult for
God. We cannot have everything we pray for as if by magic; but with
faith, we can have everything we need to serve him. [Life Application