Help My Unbelief


In today’s passage, Jesus, Peter, James, and John come down from the amazing mountaintop experience and step right into a real-life drama. Real life is sometimes a pain. It’s disappointing, frustrating, and confusing. We seek out times of rest, vacation, self-fulfillment, and excitement only to come back to real life and the disappointments found therein. All of us let those real-life circumstances distract us and cloud our vision of the power and love of Jesus AND what he wants to accomplish through us. In spite of all our disappointments and doubts, God invites us to have faith, to pray, to trust HIM for the power to live even in the doldrums of real life.

  • What are the disappointing real-life situations going on in your life right now?
  • As you read this passage, ask the Lord for a simple dependence on him, even in those “real life” times.


14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 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.” 19 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.” 20 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.21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 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.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 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.” 26 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.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


  1. How many times do you see some form of the words faith, believe, or prayer in this passage? What are the connections between these words?
  2. Do you think Jesus knew the answer to the question he asked in verse 21? What was the result of his asking (vss. 22-23)?
  3. “I believe; help my unbelief!” This might be one of the most honest expressions of faith in the Bible. In what situations in your life could this be the prayer of your heart?
  4. What would it look like if your life was marked by prayer (vs. 29)?


I think the disciples looked back on this episode as a “duh” moment in their lives—they got wrapped up in a false sense of a personal adequacy to do a work that only Jesus could do and missed the opportunity to walk by faith. The boy’s father, however, came with an honest faith, confessed his inadequacy to care for his son, and acknowledged that his faith was as exhausted and weak as his son’s body was about to be (vs. 26). The father then saw great things happen from the hand of Jesus!

  • Take time to confess to the Lord: “I believe; help my unbelief!”
  • Then ask the Lord to show you those things you are trying to do in your own strength; identify them and ask the Lord to help you let go of them.