When all you have left is Prayer

One of my favorite thing these days is moments when I’m reading the Bible, I come across a scripture that I have read many other times before but it just gives a different picture. This time it happened in Mark 9 verse 17-28.

To cut a long story short, the passage is about a man who has a son that’s demon possessed. We find out the boy has been like that since he was born, its a deaf and mute spirit. This father has tried everything he can, he has approached the disciples but they could not drive the spirit away so he is now faced with Jesus himself.

The first thing Jesus says in this passage is

You unbelieving generation, How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me

Now I know what it feels like to have client go past me and complain to my manager about something I didn’t/couldn’t do. Jesus disciples have been healing the sick and driving out spirits until they met this one. This man is now standing in front of Jesus complaining.

It strikes me as strange, why Jesus call them an unbelieving nation. His disciples believed in Jesus, they trusted him, they gave up their lives to follow him. Sometimes when I think of who I fall onto when being like Jesus isn’t quite reachable it’s his disciples. Why does he attribute their inability to drive out this demon a form of unbelief?

And then it hit me. This boy’s father had to come to Jesus himself. Why didn’t the disciples bring this boy to Jesus? They were given the power to drive out spirits and heal the sick, but they had limitations. It’s humanly and often happens without thought that when God gives us a talent, a gift and ability to do something, we become so reliant on it so much so that we forget God. And when we reach our limits, instead of crying out to God, we try this and try that and eventually give up and move on to the next best thing.

The disciples could not drive out the spirits. But just because they couldn’t doesn’t mean Jesus can’t. In keeping silent, they pretty much decided that Jesus too wouldn’t be able to.

The boy father says something that took some time to understand

I do believe, help me overcome my unbelief.

He says this after Jesus says Everything is possible for one who believes.

For a long time I have skimmed through this and thought, how can you say you believe and you have unbelief at the same time.

And then I remembered my life. All my life going back and forth with Jesus, I had lots of moments where I have lost all hope, had no faith left, I was empty. But deep down I still believed in God, I believed in his power to work miracles, I just didn’t believe that it would happen for me.

So maybe this boy father was pretty much empty, no options left. At this point he is not even asking Jesus to drive out the spirit he is simply asking if you can do anything, anything at all HELP!!! And maybe he does believe, he may have lost faith and hope for his son but he is now in this position where he is saying Yes Jesus I’m empty I don’t believe my boy will be healed anymore but you know what I believe that you can make me believe again.

When the disciples ask Jesus how is it they didn’t have power to do what he did, after he drove away the spirit, his response is;

This kind can come out only by prayer

Which kind? the kind that leave you so broken you have no strength? The ones the leave you with no faith or hope?

The Bible tells us that our miracle is in our mouth, the power of life and death is in the tongue, we say to mountains move and they will move we can call out things that aren’t as if they are, and things that are as if they aren’t.

This boy was possessed by a deaf and mute spirit. The kind of spirit that leave you silent, unable to speak, caught in moments of self destruction, those kinds can only be driven out by prayer.

Every time I read that part I always wondered who prayed? Definitely not Jesus he just told it to leave. I felt the Holy Spirit say, “the boy’s father prayed.” And it was his prayer that released his son.

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