Jesus had plenty to say about prayer.
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you” (Matthew 6:5-6, ESV).
He taught His disciples to pray privately, and He also taught His disciples to pray together.
“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them” (Matthew 18:19–20, ESV).
He also modeled a healthy prayer life.
For instance, it was His habit to meet the Father early in the morning. “And rising very early in the morning, while it was still dark, he departed and went out to a desolate place, and there he prayed” (Mark 1:35, ESV).
He didn’t pray the quicky, one-and-done prayers that we are famous for. He invested time and energy in prayer. “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God” (Luke 6:12–13, ESV).
When His disciples asked the Rabbi for a primer on prayer, Jesus said, “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil’ ” (Matthew 6:5–13, ESV).
I’m thankful that Jesus hears our feeble prayers and graciously responds. He answered the prayer of a defeated and down-hearted daddy. The daddy had brought his son to Jesus and said, “If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22, ESV).
I’m prone to those faithless prayers. “Lord, if you have time... Lord, this may be too big for you, but... Lord could you?” I’ve never used those words, but in my fearful, faithless heart, I’m guilty of those thoughts. Sometimes I think my troubles are bigger than God.
Jesus responded to the daddy, like He responds to us. “All things are possible for one who believes” (Mark 9:23, ESV). Jesus gently reminded the broken-hearted parent that He is able! More than able!
Here’s the punch line... read slowly so you don’t miss this.
The daddy cried out to Jesus! “Help my unbelief!”
That’s three words worth remembering. That’s among the Bible’s shortest prayers, and yet, also among the Bible’s most powerful prayers.
Help my unbelief!
When you’re alone. When you’re afraid. When you’re worried. When you’re defeated.
Lord Jesus, help my unbelief!
South Georgia Baptist Church
Mike Martin, Pastor