Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief. – Mark 9:24
I’ll go out on thin thin thin line and try to write about this verse. Coming from the Bible, and famous at that, I’m sure much wiser people than I have interpreted it and explained the meaning. I have to say I have not formally studied it and I don’t remember what any authority has said.
I left my prayer book at work over the long weekend and so I didn’t work with it.
The first time this verse gained meaning for me is when I was visiting home when I lived far, far away. I had developed a fear of flying, and I had to fly frequently to see my family. I was with them, getting ready to go back, and trying not to panic, when I picked up a small religious booklet that my in-laws had lying on a table. It had many calming verses, prayers, poems and such and this was one. I took it on the plane then and every time since.
So to me, and me only, this verse acknowledges my doubt, which in my case is huge. A very large part of my brain and spirit holds it possible that people are no more than highly evolved animals, and that no force but the force of nature guides the universe, and that death really is the end.
At the same time I do mostly and most often believe in a higher power, though my vision of that power is very vague and foggy. It’s part of the confusion and part of the limits of my human understanding that I would ask this power to grant me further understanding.
Now my feelings about prayer are that prayer changes nothing but my mind. I do not believe that a higher power is listening, making any kind of tally sheet or changing earthly conditions based on these prayers. I also believe the Emmett Fox idea that if I pray for something specific, I may act to bring this result about, when maybe that’s not what was “meant to be.” As a loose example say I want a promotion. Praying for it, rather than to pray for God’s will and the best solution for everyone, might make me act in ways designed to bring about this promotion, rather than trying to be most useful.
In some ways I guess it’s a hardcore person who would actually pass up trying for promotion in favor of trying to be most useful. In some ways I do strive to be that hardcore. At the same time I know it’s all relative and my mind will try to turn every situation to my advantage.
So using this verse, I personally hope that it will open my mind to the ability and possibility of increasing my faith and belief. This is something I would like to increase.