I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief… (Mark 9:24).
There are many prayers that Jesus is working in, but He cannot work in the prayers we hide from. He’ll wait for us to be humble enough to start to utter our need before He starts working on our behalf.
I have found, at least for me, the prayers I end up hiding are the prayers I’m too prideful to confess. They’re the prayers I’d rather not talk about, because in some way they could taint my image, making me look bad to other people. These are the self-righteous prayers I hide from as I attempt to protect my image over pursuing my own need for sanctification.
It is good for a heart like mine to be put on display. A heart like mine that struggles with wanting to receive the praise and adoration of people. A heart like mine that wants to always be looking good, coming across as competent and well put together. A heart like mine that fears not being successful and having it all together. Yes, it is good for me to be honest about all of this, because it sets me free from those unhealthy parts of me that want to keep me from uttering honest prayers before Jesus.
I recall early on in my marriage thinking, “Gosh, I hope my husband is hearing this message on selfishness because he needs some work on that.” Little did I know, the heart that needed some major transforming was my own. It needed to be uncovered. It needed to be humbled. It needed to stop putting on a show for others. It needed to be placed in the light of transparency.
That’s why I write so much about my own struggles now, it keeps someone like me who struggles with wanting to look good to other people humble. It keeps me from placing my own self on a pedestal and hiding the prayers of honesty and humility that I need to be praying daily before Jesus. It keeps me from sinking into my own unhealthy patterns and it connects me to people in a deeper way than I have experienced ever before.
In Mark chapter 9 Jesus encounters a man whose son is sick. Jesus says to him, “Anything is possible for him who believes.” The man cries out, an honest, humble prayer that quite frankly feels a bit risky and exposing. He says, “I believe, help my unbelief!” I can’t help but think how many of us would be afraid to utter those words out loud before Jesus and others.
I know for me there would be a fear that maybe others would be disappointed by my struggle with unbelief. Isn’t that why we’re quick to ask for prayer and act as though we’re believing God for great things, but actually underneath it all, we’re struggling with deep doubt and fear over the matter? Maybe what we need more of in our prayer circles are honest prayers that expose something about us that Jesus can heal. Yes, Jesus honors honest prayers, even the ones where we express doubt.
Don’t be afraid to go somewhere hard in your life today and don’t fear the beauty of transparency. Jesus can work if you’re willing to stop hiding and start letting Him in.
Lord, show me today where I am doubting you. Please forgive me for my doubt. Help me to see your grace and your goodness in my life. I so badly want to be like you that I’m so done with trying to look good to others, but please help me not to give in to that when it starts to rear its ugly head, in Jesus name, Amen.