Every Thought Captive

I Believe; Help My Unbelief

And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Mark 9:14-29

My Lord and my God, I come to admire You this morning and gladly greet You. Jesus, let me hear Your question directed to me, “What are You arguing about with them?”

Lord, I admit that I argue about many things, often in my inner thoughts. I catch myself arguing with figments of my imagination. I project words and motives on others. Forgive me for words I have spoken out of an argumentative spirit and grant me more and more self-control. Renovate my character into humble gentleness and turn my inner arguments into prayer.

But what about the arguments outside of me? It is deeply troubling to see those who identify with You, Lord Jesus, viciously argue with others we are called to love. Forgive us for seeking to destroy our neighbors with words in the hiddenness of our inner thoughts, in the privacy of our own homes, in social media posts, and personal confrontations. You know, O Lord, that I am capable of the same. Lord, have mercy on me, a sinner. “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy,” but You came that we may have life as it is really meant to be—filled up with faith, hope, and love.

“Have compassion on us and help us.” Have compassion on me and help me. Yes, Lord, all things are possible for the one who believes.

I believe; help my unbelief!
I believe; help my unbelief!
I believe; help my unbelief!

Cast out every evil influence in me, in the Church, and in Your good creation. Help me to listen to and obey Your words, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

You took this dead boy by the hand and lifted him up, and he rose. Evil men took You by the hand and lifted You up nailed to a cross, and You rose from the dead. Even though I will die and lose all that is precious in this life, I trust that You will take me by the hand and lift me up, and I too will rise. Give me more and more of the indestructible life within Your unrelenting, reconciling love. Make me humbly confident of the day when You will cast out every evil in this world, never to enter again, and make all things new. I believe; help my unbelief!

In the name of Jesus, I pray. Amen.

About the Author

Photograph of Brett Bradshaw

Brett Bradshaw

Director of Christian Formation

Park Cities Presbyterian Church

Brett Bradshaw serves as the Director of Christian Formation at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, Texas. Andrea is his wife whom he delights to love. Ellie, Emery, and Haven are his precious daughters, the little ones who are a daily glimpse of the Kingdom of God.