We all understand that faith is one of the key ingredients to our Christian walk. We must have faith if we want to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) There are times in life when it is relatively easy to have a strong faith. It is easy to have faith when you’ve just received a clean bill of health from the doctor and you feel well. It’s easy to have faith when you’ve been successful in business. It’s easy to have faith when your team has just won a big game. It’s easy to have faith when you’ve just aced a big test and your doing well in school.
It’s easy to have faith when your marriage is strong and your children are living the way you’ve taught them to live. It’s easy to have faith when you’ve preached a sermon that everyone has responded positively toward and the elders have given you a vote of confidence.
It’s easy to have faith when you’ve been victorious over Satan and you’ve been able to say no to sin. It’s easy to have faith when you’re on the mountaintop with Jesus, Moses, & Elijah and you’ve heard to voice of God. (Mark 9:2-7)
But there are many times in our lives that faith is not so easy. There are many times when doubts arise. There are many times when we question our faith and we question the Lord.
It’s difficult to have faith when the doctor informs you that the tests results were not good and you don’t feel well. It difficult to have faith when things are not going well at work and you wonder if you are going to keep your job. It’s hard to have faith if your team loses the game or you don’t pass the test and you’re not doing well in school.
It’s easy to allow doubts to creep in when your marriage is on the rocks or when your children have turned away from what you’ve spent a lifetime teaching them about the Lord.
It’s easy to doubt when feel like your sermons are dry, when people don’t respond well, when the elders question your work, and when it seems that things are not going well at church.
It’s easy to doubt when you’ve fallen to a particular temptation and you’ve said yes to sin. It’s easy to have doubts when you come down off the mountain and you’re in the valley where everything seems to be falling apart.
It’s important to understand the setting of Mark 9. In the beginning of the chapter some of the Apostles are on the mountaintop with Jesus. While they are standing there Moses and Elijah appear. The Apostles hear the conversation of Jesus, Moses, and Elijah. Besides this they hear the voice of God from Heaven. Could there be a more perfect picture?
Later in the chapter they come down from the mountaintop back into the normal routine of life. The first thing they see when they come down from the mountain is a large crowd and people are arguing. (Mark 9:14) The first thought that comes to my mind here is that it is easier to hear the voice of God when you’re on the mountaintop alone than it is when you are in a large crowd of people who are arguing.
A man brings his son to Jesus to heal him. The disciples of Jesus could not heal him and Jesus describes them as an unbelieving generation. (Mark 9:19) Jesus does heal the boy and later the disciples of Jesus question their inability to be able to heal him. (Mark 9:28) Doubts have entered their minds, they need an answer from the Lord, and they receive a powerful reminder from Jesus. “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.” (Mark 9:29)
Prayer can help us restore our faith in the Lord. Prayer can help remove the doubts from our minds and hearts. Prayer is a powerful resource to help us have a victorious faith.
PRAYER CAN REVEAL THE POWER OF GOD IN OUR LIFE. Facing difficult circumstances is one of the biggest reasons why we often doubt God. Sometimes doubt is our first response to tough times. Maybe we are dealing with a sickness, or we have a loved one that we just lost, or maybe we have a marriage that is falling apart, or something that was very important that we lost, or our finances aren’t doing well. We are having trouble at work. Things are not going well in our work with the church.
Those difficult circumstances surround us and doubt creeps in. We begin to think—God where are You? God, why would You allow this to happen to me? God do You really love me? When we pray we will be reminded of some of the great promises of God.
We can remember that all things work for good for those who love the Lord. (Romans 8:28) We can be reminded that we can do anything through Him who gives us strength.
(Philippians 4:13) Prayer brings faith and victorious faith removes doubt. Jesus said, “All things are possible to him who believes. (Mark 9:23)
PRAYER ENABLES US TO LOOK BEYOND OUR DOUBTS AND SEE JESUS. One of the problems with doubt is it often clouds our view. We have a difficult time seeing the Lord when we have doubts in our hear. It is possible that one of the reasons for the argument in Mark 9 was the inability of the disciples of Jesus to heal the man’s son.
Perhaps the man begin to think that if the disciples of Jesus couldn’t heal him then Jesus couldn’t heal him. He did ask Jesus to help his “unbelief.” (Mark 9:24) When we have doubts in our mind unbelief can be just around the corner.
Prayer will refocus our lives on Jesus. Prayer will help erase the doubts and restore the victorious faith that we need to navigate the storms of life. We need desperately to fix our eyes on Jesus, “The author and finisher of our faith,” (Hebrews 12:2) if we are going to be able to “run the race with endurance.” (Hebrews 12:1)
PRAYER REMINDS US OF GOD’S PLAN FOR OUR LIFE. All of us are in a constant battle with sin. Satan wants to devour us. (1 Peter 5:8) We often struggle with being doing what we know is right and not doing what we know is wrong. (Romans 7:15-20) When we struggle in this way we begin to doubt our faith and we even begin to doubt God. When we doubt God we attempt to take things into our own hands.
The disciples of Jesus apparently begin to doubt the plan of the Lord in Mark 9. They wondered out loud why they could not cast the demon out of the man’s son. Jesus reminded them of the plan of God. He reminded them that if they were going to do the work of God they must pray. (Mark 9:29)
We cannot accomplish the work that God has planned for us apart from prayer. We cannot live the life that God wants us to live without prayer. When we struggle with our health, in our families, with our jobs, and even in the work of the Lord, prayer is our greatest resource.
God has promised us that we can come before His throne at any time. (Hebrews 4:14-16) Approaching His throne through our High Priest will renew our strength, restore our faith in the Lord’s plan, and revive our hearts to live with victorious faith!
Dear Father, help us to live with victorious faith. Help us when doubts enter our hearts to see the need for prayer. Help us dear God to pray more often and more fervently. Father, forgive us when we allow doubts to cause us to question Your power or Your plan. Thank You dear Lord for allowing us to come to pray to you at any time. Through Jesus our Mediator we pray, Amen.