By Stephanie Shott
Friday, June 2, 2017
So Jesus said to them, “Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 NKJV
Sometimes prayer seems so easy. Other times, it is painfully hard. There are times when I feel like I have the faith to pray earth-shattering, mountain-moving prayers and then there are times when I have a hard time believing God for the words that are flowing from my heart.
When the Lord called us to the mission field, we prayed He would sell our house and our business without the need to put an ad in the paper. He did and we left. When we gathered to pray for the healing of a man who was literally on death’s door, God healed him and we rejoiced.
The sheer majesty of His greatness beckons me to believe that He is not only able, but willing to do the ginormous and unexplainable.
But faith seems elusive when I’m praying for God to make a miracle out of a messed-up marriage and the couple continues to break each other’s heart, or when I’m praying for God to deliver a friend from addiction and they are consistently lured back into its grips.
One minute I’m bombarding Heaven with mountain-moving faith, and the next minute, I’m wondering where God is and why He isn’t doing anything.
Then, I’m reminded that each mountain-size prayer only requires mustard-seed-sized faith.
In Matthew 17 and Mark 9 we discover a parallel story of a frantic father desperate for the deliverance of his son. His previous pleas for help from the disciples were pointless. Rendered ineffective by their lack of faith, the disciples were unable to deliver the demon-possessed boy.
That’s when Jesus invited the father to a deeper, yet simpler faith than the disciples demonstrated.
“If you can?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” Mark 9:23-24 ESV
That precious father understood that if the disciples lacked the faith necessary to deliver his son, then perhaps his own faith would fall short too.
We all have pockets of unbelief in our prayer lives. Those places where we find it hard to trust God for the impossible times when our prayers are great and our faith is small.
We all need Jesus to “help our unbelief.”
Yet, in Matthew 17:20, Jesus assures us that He understands our humanness. He isn’t looking for mountain-size faith, just mustard seed faith for mountain-size prayers.
Prayer isn’t always easy. Faith sometimes comes hard. But the same God who created us is the same God who remembers that we are frail, fallible and flawed. He sees where we are, and He knows what we are going through. While He calls us to believe Him for the impossible, He also assures us that it only takes mustard seed faith to move mountains. So pray on, sweet friend. Pray on!
Father, thank You for loving us in spite of how messed up we are – for the grace of mustard seed faith and for the promise of answered prayer. Help us understand that every answer to our prayers is filtered from Your heart of love, even when it doesn’t look like what we think it should. Fill those pockets of unbelief in our prayer lives with mustard seed faith. And Lord, when we struggle to believe You, please help our unbelief.
© 2017 by Stephanie Shott. All rights reserved.
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Originally published Friday, 02 June 2017.