Not only is today’s post one of the most powerful, short blogs I’ve ever read, but it is written by one of the most beautiful writers of our time, Lore Ferguson Wilbert. Lore is someone I have long respected, not just for her exquisite way with words, but also for her fidelity to Jesus and the Word of God. In this life, there are those moments we meet a heart that feels kindred, and in the writing ministry world, these moments are reserved for a precious few. I don’t remember when I met Lore online, but I know that when I did some years back, it was an instant connection and knowing we were indeed, kindred hearts. Lore is kind but strong, fair but not unwavering…a woman who continues to keep the main thing the main thing and use her gift of words to point people to the true North.
Lore is a sought out writer for her steadied wisdom on so many important things – one of my true go-to’s when I want a powerful, Word-based perspective. You can find her in these places:
- instagram.com/lorewilbert. (ps: She also takes beautiful pictures.)
I am honored to have Lore’s words on my blog. I am even more honored to call her my friend.
Here’s her powerful 5 word prayer, helpful to so many of us in our own struggle to believe God.
I don’t know if there’s a soul I identify more with in the New Testament than the father of the demoniac in Mark 9. A man of paradox who wasn’t afraid to be both brutally honest about his present circumstances and brutally idealistic about what he wanted to be true of himself instead.
“I believe,” he said. “Help my unbelief.” Two statements that were absolutely true and absolutely opposite at the same time. You can almost see the tearing confliction happening within him in that moment—the same tearing confliction that happens in me almost daily. I feel like a walking conundrum because I am certain of my belief in God and yet, every single day, I am battered by ten-thousand things that want my allegiance above God. This is unbelief, the certainty of anything above God.
When we confess the truth of belief, even if it is frail, weak, partial, and imperfect, we worship God with our intentions. My intention is to believe wholly, my desire is to believe perfectly, and I am most strong when he is my strength wholly. Even though I live on a broken planet full of all kinds of suffering, pain, and sin, I can know my God is in heaven and sees it all. My belief is not in the success or fulfillment of what I see as wholeness, but in God himself. The Father’s encompassing love. The Son’s sufficient sacrifice. The help of the Holy Spirit within me. This is where I base my belief—not in the ever changing, always shifting, circumstances around me. I can say “I believe” to the Lord because my belief is not in the certainty of anything but Him.
Help my unbelief.
And yet. Right? Yet. He is certain, yes, yet I am not. He is good, yes, yet I am not. He is faithful, yet I am not. Because I am human, frail, and weak, shaped by the circumstances of my life and by the suffering I’ve experienced, I will have weak faith sometimes. I will struggle to believe Christ’s sacrifice is sufficient—and so I will try to clean myself up on my own, earn my salvation, or crumble under the weight of a shame I’m not meant to carry. I will struggle to live as though the Holy Spirit lives within me, helping and comforting me—and so I will run to other things and people to make me feel whole. I will struggle to know the love of the Father—and so I will run to other people for affection, sufficiency, love, and acceptance. I am riddled with unbelief. This is true of me and so it is okay to say it to God. He can handle my unbelief.
I believe. Help my unbelief.
The power of these two statements comes when they are said together. The ability to say these two conflicting truths in the same breath is the mark of a Christian. It is someone who is absolutely aware of their frailty and absolutely aware of God’s strength. Someone who is absolutely aware of their limitations and absolutely aware of God’s sovereignty. Someone who is absolutely aware of their doubts and absolutely aware of God’s faithfulness. You see? We cannot come to the cross with anything but nothing. We have to approach the throne of God because of his kindness, not our list of good deeds and perfect belief. We have to ask the Spirit constantly for his help because we don’t even have all the words we need to ask for what we need. Christians are walking conundrums, all of us, because our certainty is in the completion of the story and not the journey to get there.
Those with weak faith only pray, “Help my unbelief,” and they think true belief is never possible.
Those with strong faith only pray, “I believe,” and they are surprised when they fail or falter.
Those with real faith pray, in the same breath, to their God, “I believe. Help my unbelief.”
Learn more about Lore Ferguson Wilbert at Sayable.net where she writes passionately for the glory of God alone.
Order 5 Word Prayers!
Prayer Doesn’t Have to Be Intimidating
Do you find yourself frustrated in your communication with God? Does a thriving prayer life feel completely out of reach?
The strength of your prayers lies in your heart intent, not your word count. Discover a new joy in your conversations with God!