Lord, I Believe
Lord, You alone are worthy of my worship. I offer it gladly as I come to You now.
Read Mark 9:14-29
 When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.  As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.  “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.  A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech.  Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”  “O unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”  So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.  Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered.  “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”  “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for him who believes.”  Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”  When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”  The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.”  But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.  After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”  He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectWhy does it seem the disciples couldn't heal the boy (29)?
At the heart of this story is a man seriously concerned for the life of his son, who is possessed by an evil spirit that has devastating effects on the boy (17-22). He’s come to the right person—or at least, he intended to (17); but the disciples he approached in Jesus’ absence were unable to help (18). Furthermore, their unbelief (as Jesus says) caused the father to lose confidence in what Jesus could do (22). The disciples’ lack of prayer (29) has clouded his understanding and trust in the power of Christ. Their assumption that they could drive out the evil spirit showed their forgetfulness that such power comes only from God himself—it’s not innate in them. As soon as Jesus challenges the father, he declares his belief, acknowledges its extent, and the boy is healed.
This passage indicates that it’s not specific prayer for healing that’s missing from the disciples’ lives, but prayer itself. Prayer strengthens and deepens our relationship with God, so that when we pray for others, it’s with greater trust and confidence in his power.
Spend some time in worship. Then bring Jesus those you are concerned for, praying with confidence in who Jesus is.
Lord Jesus, You know the state of my prayer life. Strengthen and deepen it so I can draw closer to You.