It’s commonly believed that to have our prayers answered by God, we must approach Him with unwavering faith. But what if doubt creeps in? Does doubt prevent us from receiving answers to our prayers, and what should we do when we doubt?

Reflecting on these questions, I’m reminded of the story in Mark 9:9-29, where a father sought healing for his son from Jesus’ disciples but was unsuccessful. When Jesus arrived, the father expressed doubt when he said the words “…if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us” (verse 22); thus, questioning if Jesus could help. In those words if thou canst, this desperate father expressed that he was beginning to doubt whether Jesus could help him since His disciples had already failed. Despite this doubt, the father remained with Jesus, admitting his struggle with belief. Jesus encouraged him to hold onto faith, and the father confessed his doubt and faith by crying out, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (verse 24). In response, Jesus healed his son, strengthening the father’s faith.

This story teaches us that we can bring our doubts to Jesus without being turned away. Instead of letting doubt separate us from Him, we should bring both our faith and doubt to Him, remaining in His presence and relying on His mercy. In doing so, Jesus helps us overcome doubt and grants our prayers.

Ironically, doubt can become an opportunity for increasing our faith.