Let’s face it, sometimes it is difficult to believe that God can and will act in certain situations in our lives. Sometimes it feels as if either God helps other people before us, or perhaps God is not in the helping business any more for situations like ours. Then this feeling gets reinforced when it seems as if no one in the Church can help us, either.
This was the situation when a man brought his possessed son to the disciples while Jesus was up on Mount Tabor with Peter, James, and John. The disciples at the foot of the mountain could not cast out the demon, and the father became desperate. After all, there were stories circulating of these very same men traveling around casting out demons. Why not now? Why not his son?
Then Jesus comes down from the mountain:
20 And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. 22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ 23 Jesus said to him, ‘If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.’ 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’
There it is! The most honest prayer before God there can be. I believe; help my unbelief! The man believed enough in Jesus and his movement to bring his son to them, but now he was doubting whether or not his son would ever be healed. He did not get angry. He did not overly compensate with bravado. He did not fake a faith that is unshakable. Rather, he was honest and said he was struggling.
God already knows how we feel. It goes much better for us when we are honest before God.