"And He did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief." Matthew 13:58
I've read that verse a hundred times. I always "understood" it in its context-Jesus not being accepted in His hometown. But as I read it again a few mornings ago, it dawned on me that this verse is for me. I have sensed the Holy Spirit saying to me, "You're holding back God's mighty works with your unbelief." Don't get me wrong; I pray about things and I believe in the power of God. But do I believe God will do mighty works in my life? In my family's life? In the church? In the world? Do I have the faith that God requires in order for His works to be unleashed? Do I really believe that He is "able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think, according to the power at work within us"? (Ephesians 3:20)
What is the power at work within us? James tells us that "The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working." (James 5:16) The context of that statement is faith. God will hear, comfort, heal, raise up, forgive, when we pray in faith. Elijah prayed for a drought and God did a mighty work and stopped the rain. After the three and a half year drought, Elijah prayed for rain, and God did a mighty work and sent rain. "Elijah was a man with a nature like ours", it says in James 5:17, but he prayed fervently, and he was a man of great faith. We often pray fervently, but do we have great faith? Do we truly believe that God will do the mighty act for which we are praying?
Mark's account of Jesus' rejection in His hometown contains these verses: "And He could do no mighty work there, except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief." (Mark 6:5-6)
How long has God been waiting to do mighty works, but we've held Him back with our unbelief?
Jesus told the man who asked for healing for his sick boy, "All things are possible for one who believes."(Mark 9:23)
My prayer these days is the same as that man's in verse 24: "I believe; help my unbelief!"