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Prayer, Plain and Simple

“I believe; help my unbelief!” (Mark 9:24) 

All we need is mustard seed faith. Just a bit is enough to begin. As a cup of water poured down the old well can prime the pump, and set the waters flowing, all you need today is faith to pray for faith to pray. That may be your first ask: “Lord, help me ask!” 

A father with an ailing child once came to Jesus asking for healing. Jesus’ apprentices had failed, but the man wasn’t deterred and asked to speak to the management. Jesus answered him straight, “Anything is possible if a person believes…” 

Reading this story I wonder if Jesus’ line “Anything is possible if a person believes…” is aimed more at his bumbling followers than to this father. Earlier when Jesus learned that his boys had failed to deliver healing he’d scolded them in frustration, “You faithless people!” (9:19). Clearly, he’d expected more. 

It’s the poor, frightened, discouraged father, hanging by a thread that can barely be called faith who responds honestly. It’s his first step to victory: admitting he’s struggling. 

But… and this is so encouraging to me… he had enough faith to still be there, to ask one more time after his bitter disappointment. He believes, but he knows himself enough to know he is fragile. So he uses his small faith wisely in a single brilliant prayer: “I have enough belief to ask you to give me enough belief…” He’s like the man granted one wish who wishes for a thousand wishes. The man prays for faith! And he gets both miracles.

Perhaps you identify with this man. As you consider your enterprise, you may see a nagging, dominant problem. You find it hard to believe this can ever change. Admitting that is your start. 

Take your shreds of faith and ask for more faith. Then wait. Your soul will begin to register God’s response. Wait some more. Paul writes, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Find a promise in the Bible and cling to it. Then take your new “slightly stronger” faith and invest it again by asking for more faith still. Get the pattern? Keep investing your returns back into prayers for greater faith – and in the scripture promises that feed that faith. With each cycle, you are fixing your focus on Jesus, not on the problem, making RELATIONSHIP not result the priority. 

Then, at a point, as you continue to ask for more faith and more of God’s truth, you will in a moment find your faith strong enough to believe for that “impossible” situation impossible no more! 

Today, say, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”

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