Prayer for Doubt When Struggling With Unbelief

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The power of prayer cannot be minimized when struggling with doubt and unbelief.

I’m so thankful God chose to use ordinary people with genuine, deep struggles, just like you and me throughout His Word.

As we read about the great heroes of our faith we won’t find: 

  • Stories of individuals with perfect, unwavering faith regarding God’s promise / promises
  • Individuals who followed a well-orchestrated, perfect plan in full obedience while never stumbling
  • People who never doubted God’s love or the power of God
  • Testimonies of an easy life, void of any tough seasons of life 

QUITE the contrary…

God’s Word is full of examples of how God used ordinary men and women for extraordinary purposes to bring Him glory despite their shortcomings and struggles. 

Don’t think for one minute they didn’t have times of doubt.

Consider just a few examples that immediately come to mind:

  • Abraham doubted how he would be a father of many nations in his old age. 
  • Moses doubted his ability to communicate effectively due to his faltering lips and doubted he was the right choice to lead God’s people out of Egypt.
  • Gideon had feelings of inadequacy and doubt regarding God’s calling on his life.
  • John the Baptist struggled with doubt after preaching the truth of the coming of Jesus. From prison, he had the disciples go and ask Jesus, “Are you the Messiah we’ve been expecting, or should we keep looking for someone else?” (Mt 11:2-3)
  • Then there was Jesus’ disciple, Thomas who was nicknamed “Doubting Thomas” for his statement, “Unless I see His hands the print of nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His die, I will not believe” (John 20:25). 

God moved mightily in each of the lives mentioned above.

  • Abraham is recognized for his faith in Hebrews 11.
  • Moses led God’s people out of slavery and served the Lord in miraculous ways – including receiving and recording the 10 Commandments!
  • Gideon experienced amazing victory.
  • Rather than words of condemnation, Christ Jesus affirmed John the Baptist – AFTER he heard John’s question laced with doubt by stating:

 “Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet whoever is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Mt. 11:11) 

I don’t know about you, but I can relate to each of the above examples in some way – as well as other people from Scripture who struggled with doubt and disbelief.

It’s a good thing we have windows into their struggles with doubt; we’re encouraged by them and can learn from them. 

We can relate to those who have gone before us in their struggles.

God knew we’d need relatable. 

Such is the case in the Biblical account we turn to today.

Account of Doubt from God’s Word 

A desperate parent enters the scene as we open the Word of God to Mark 9. 

Brace yourself as a concerned dad approaches Jesus on behalf of his son who’s possessed by a spirit that has made him mute and causes him to have seizures.

“Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”

“You unbelieving generation”, Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”

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!”

clouds with sun behind

Faith in Jesus displayed

Let’s start with the fact that this father came to Jesus!

His faith propelled him to action; he brought his son to Jesus.  

He exclaimed, “I do believe!” What followed in the next breath revealed his inner struggle…

Doubt in Jesus declared 

“Help me overcome my unbelief!”

A short prayer, rich in raw honesty. 

God honors those raw honest prayers, you know. 

He already knows what’s in our hearts – we might as well be honest and forthright and bring it before Him. 

In the shadows of uncertainty, we can choose to trust that God has a divine plan, and while we can’t always understand the “why” behind it, we can utter that short, sweet prayer request, “Dear Lord, I do believe… help me overcome my unbelief!”

The boy’s father acknowledges:

His struggle with unbelief AND that Jesus Christ can help him overcome his unbelief.

You can just sense this father’s inner turmoil:

“I do believe… help me overcome my unbelief.”

Ever been there?

I have. 

I believe our Lord Jesus can do anything. There is nothing too hard for Him, and He is the God of miracles! 

And He’s still in the business of miracles today – I believe that.

Even though we DO believe, doubt creeps into our minds at times, just like it did for the individuals in the examples from the Bible that we previously mentioned, and there are many others we could have added to that list!

When moments of doubt occur, the slimy enemy of our soul, Satan, is ready to pounce and tempt us toward disbelief.

Satan tempts us to doubt the very things God has declared to be true, such as:

  • God’s goodness
  • God’s character
  • The Truth of His Word.
  • Our position in Christ.
  • Our possessions in Christ.
  • The unwavering love of God towards His people.
  • God’s grace
  • God’s perfect love 

We cannot allow stubborn doubts to fester, or we’ll soon find ourselves in a full-blown stronghold of unbelief!

The very moment Satan begins to cast his temptations for us to doubt, it’s important for us to stand on the truths from Scripture that our Father God has provided in His holy Word. 

We must determine to know what God’s Word says and then choose to believe it to be true.

Faith in Jesus: A couple key passages from the Bible

“Faith is being sure of what we hope for, and certain of what we do not see.” (Heb. 11:6)

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7)

“Without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seeks Him. (Heb. 11:6) 

“If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That person should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Such a person is double-minded and unstable and all they do.” (James 1:5-8)

Faith is required, and our faith must be anchored in the person of Jesus Christ. 

Our faith cannot rest in:

  • Our desired outcome of our circumstance or situation occurring
  • The way we feel about a situation
  • Our own effort or ability to perform

Our faith must rest in our Sovereign God – whether He acts in the way we want Him to — or not. 

This requires trust.

text of 7 promises of God

Prayer for doubt

Heavenly Father, we come to you in the name of Jesus in recognition that you are the Alpha and the Omega – the beginning and the End. You are sovereign, holy, and we humble ourselves before you. Lord. We all have areas where we struggle with doubt… whether that is doubt regarding your character or chains of self-doubt concerning who we are in relationship to you as a child of God… We come to you as the boy’s father did centuries ago, and we declare that WE DO believe – help me overcome my unbelief in this situation, O Lord: _________________________________________________. We know you are always at work, even when we can’t see or understand your ways. Thank you for your unfailing love toward your people. We desire to grow in our faith in you, and we surrender to your will and way in this moment, desiring to walk in step with your Holy Spirit as you lead. Give us the grace to trust you more. We ask these things in Jesus name, Amen

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Related posts to Prayer When Struggling with Doubt and Disbelief:

Trusting God During Difficult Times

Overcoming Insecurity from a Biblical Perspective

Knowing and Trusting God is Sovereign

35 Psalms Written by King David

Bible verses to bring comfort after trauma

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