Thursday, 18 March 2021
So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” -Mark 9:29 [NKJV]
Are you facing a stagnant or difficult situation in life where no matter what you do, things just don’t seem to change? In today’s reading, Jesus gives us an answer to our questions during such struggles and a direction for our daily walk with Him. Mark 9:14-29 which gives an account of the healing of a demon-possessed boy is the focus of meditatation.
Probably having heard of the miracles that Jesus did, a father brought his son who was possessed by a deaf and mute spirit to be healed. Verses 20-22 describe how the boy suffered from childhood. The father must have been in anguish all these years, watching his son’s suffering. Sometimes the anguish, the struggles in our lives are kind of similar— difficult to bear. But even when we cannot express our pain, God knows what we go through and He has compassion on us.
When the child was brought to the disciples, they were unable to heal him. The disciples were followers of Jesus, who had been with their Master listening to His teachings, watching Him heal the sick and cast out demons and has even experienced the power of God manifested through them (Mark 6:13). How then is it possible that they could not heal this little boy? They walked with Jesus, yet they lacked faith (V.19). Are we like the disciples sometimes? Are there times in our spiritual walk, when asked to pray over someone or when faced with a challenge, we doubt the power of God that can do the impossible? If we have doubted, let us like the boy’s father, cry out to the Lord: “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” (V.24 NLT). Jesus gives us the promise, “…if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.” (Matthew 17:20 NASB)
Here Jesus emphasizes the need for prayer - a constant communion with our Heavenly Father. Throughout Jesus’ earthly ministry, we see that Jesus withdrew from the crowd that followed Him to spend time in solitude with His Father. Jesus’ work on earth was done through His deep faith and prayerful spiritual connection with the Heavenly Father. As in all other aspects, Jesus set a pattern for us through His prayer life. As we persist in prayer, we will experience a deepening faith and complete reliance on God. Jesus said certain situations or illness can be healed only through prayer and fasting (Vs 29). Prayer and fasting takes us to a level of complete dependence on God’s strength and an awareness of our inability to do anything ourselves. When we pray with humility, we will see the power of God working through us to change the most impossible of situations. If we would truly just cry out to Him, our Heavenly Father will give us the Holy Spirit to strengthen and to guide us in power (Luke 11:13).
Let us therefore, no longer stay discouraged and burdened by struggles, but let us humble ourselves before the Holy One in fasting and prayer and ask Him to empower us that we may be channels of blessing for others. Remember, “But when you ask God, you must believe and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like a wave in the sea, blown up and down by the wind.” James 1:6 [NCV]