One Bible Prayer to Help You Get Through Doubt

When your faith is flagging, these eight words can reconnect you with God.

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Posted in , Jul 7, 2022

Praying through doubt

Do you wish you had more faith? Less doubt? If you’re anything like me, you have my sympathy. In those moments of doubt your faith may flee, you may question nearly everything and feel as if you’re holding onto faith by a thread. And that’s exactly when prayer can seem harder than usual. We might wish for some kind of treatment or trick that will banish doubt and buttress our faith, small though it may be. There is. 

There’s one prayer I use often to pray through doubt, and it happens to be a Bible prayer. I don’t know anyone who’s claimed it as a “life verse,” but it’s been a lifeline to me many times. 

It’s a prayer from an occasion right after Jesus’ literal “mountaintop experience” when He and His closest followers came back to earth, literally. A man had brought his son to Jesus for healing but Jesus wasn’t there; He was up on the Mount of Transfiguration. 

So the man located some of Jesus’ disciples among the other nine who had stayed behind. The desperate father told them that his son was possessed by a demon. Those disciples tried to call the demon out of the boy—and failed. When Jesus arrived at the scene, the father explained his son’s predicament and the disciples’ failed efforts. Jesus said, “Bring the boy to me.” The account goes on: 

So, they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”

“From childhood,” he answered. “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.”

“‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”

Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” (Mark 9:20-24 NIV). 

That’s it! That’s the prayer: “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Is there a more honest prayer in scripture? 

The story goes on to tell how Jesus commanded the demon and delivered the boy. He explained to His baffled disciples that this kind of deliverance happens only as a result of prayer and fasting. But it’s the father’s prayer that has carried me through many doubts and returned me to a place of faith.  

Those eight words do five important things for me:

1)  They affirm (and remind me) that I do still have some faith; I haven’t lost all of it. That’s important, especially when I feel most doubt-ridden.

2)  They admit, honestly, that my faith is small, that unbelief is also working in me.

3)  They include a petition, asking the Lord to help me overcome my unbelief.

4)  They keep the conversation open between me and the Lord. Instead of doubt silencing my prayers and shutting down my communion with God, this prayer keeps us talking (which is perhaps the greatest benefit of all).

5)  And they apply to any situation, because (speaking only for myself, mind you) in virtually every circumstance, my faith is tempered by doubt. Even at my best, doubt still seems present, in some measure, at least.

Try it. “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” Keep this prayer in your heart and mind. Have it ready when doubt assails you. Pull it out when darkness descends. Repeat it often, as frequently as necessary—a single prayer to bolster faith and banish doubt.

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