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When we are feeling that our faith in Christ is weak, we should, as God’s Word itself teaches us, do the following things:

1. Recognize that faith is God’s work and his gift, 1 Thess. 3.; John 6.

2. Inquire and examine ourselves if we gladly want to believe, and if we wish that our faith would be stronger and better. If this desire is present, then God’s work and his power is present, as St. Paul bears witness, that God also works this desire in us. Therefore even a weak, poor desire is God’s work.

3. Pay attention to the foundation and the bedrock of our faith, which is not our feelings, our nature, our strength, worthiness, word and service, but rather solely the service, innocence, satisfaction, obedience, suffering, bleeding and death and the blood of JESUS Christ, which we grasp, hold and appropriate to ourselves by faith, as through an instrument, a means, a hand. Obviously, a little weak toddler grasps an expensive ring with his weak little fingers just as surely as a big, strong Sampson can grasp that ring with his big fist. Yet it is one and the same ring that is not made less through the child’s weakness nor made greater by the strength of mighty Sampson. It is and remains one ring, that is, the ring of the service, of the satisfaction of Christ for the weak and for the strong, yes, even more for the weak than for those who let themselves imagine they’re strong.

4. Realize that the dear prayer from out of a humble heart is heard above all after the example of that afflicted man who had a poor child who was possessed and to whom the LORD said: “If you could believe then you would be helped. For all things are possible for those who believe.” “Oh LORD, (said the beleaguered father, weeping fervent tears), I believe, help my unbelief.”

5. Know that the Holy Ghost himself works and supports, heats up and gives courage to our prayer, sighing and tears, that it proceeds effectively and presses through the clouds and fills God’s ears. As Paul bears witness in Romans 8 that the Holy Ghost aids us in our weakness and advocates for us with unutterable groans and we cry out through him, “Abba, Father.” Therefore he is called the Spirit of prayer and of grace, Prov. 12, who bears witness with our spirit that we are God’s children.

6. Receive the comforting promise that God the LORD will not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoldering flax. Mt. 12.

If we would take to our hearts these six little points, we will be able to endure and overcome by God’s grace the trial that comes to us by our weakness of faith or, at last, after all, we will arrive at our salvation through the greater adversities yet to come. For as we live, so shall we die and so shall we be saved.


Instruction for Those Who are Afflicted because of their Weakness in Faith. (Taken from Nicol. Selnecker’s Conc. Funeb. I. P. 130.) Reprinted in Der Lutheraner, April 1845; translated by Pastor Joel Basely

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