Sunday, October 07, 2007

Faith-filled prayer

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Mark 7, 8, 9

Mark 9:25-29 (NIV)

25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was coming 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.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up to his feet, and he stood up. 28 After Jesus had gone indoors, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” 29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”

Philippians 4:13 (KJV)

13 I can do all things through Christ, which strengthens me.

Good morning!

Of all of the healings that Jesus did, this one speaks to my heart the most. No matter how many times I read it, I am awestruck by this important lesson of faith. The crowds, along with Christ’s disciples, are moved beyond words when a deformed limb is restored, sight is returned to the blind, and those who could not hear or speak are suddenly praising God! They are powerful images of the Lord who heals us. Yet, it takes a prayer prayed in faith for the demons to be driven out, once and for all.

There is nothing more powerful than a simple prayer spoken in faith.

Prayer breaks the hardest heart. Prayer opens a path from eternal darkness into eternal light. Think about the suffering child. His father begged Jesus for help. He said that his son had been afflicted for years. Unable to speak, the boy would be thrown to the ground in violent fits of convulsion. He would bite his tongue repeatedly from gnashing his teeth. His entire body becomes rigid and frozen. Sometimes the tremors are so powerful that the child might land in the fire or the water. There is no controlling him, and his parents were at a loss at how to stop this child from literally killing himself. Do you know someone who suffers from seizures and tremors? Have you ever experienced an out-of-control moment when you cannot seem to take charge of your own faculties and stop a free-fall into a deep, dark pit? What demons drive you or someone you love into seasons of utter hopelessness and despair?

The disciples had tried and failed to drive the evil spirit out. Jesus heard the cries of a father’s heart breaking as he begged for healing for his son. Jesus questioned the man’s faith. “If you can?” Christ said to him. “Everything is possible for him who believes.” Did Jesus really mean it when He said, “everything is possible with faith?”

We don’t have to look very far to see what happens when someone suffers with addictions and compulsions, and how their actions affect loved ones and friends. Innocent children get hurt. Parents suffer from broken hearts and disfigured lives. Society shuns the suffering one out of fear and lack of understanding. The cycle of generational sin perpetuates itself over and over again. We see its affects plastered all over our local newspapers and magazines. In moments of sheer instability, human minds snap and acts of extreme violence occur. Can this really stop? How can you keep an uncontrollable moment of rage from happening? Could a simple prayer, prayed in faith, really work?

When the father heard Jesus’ question, he replied without hesitation, “I do believe! Help me overcome my unbelief!” And then it happened. There was nothing logical about this child’s complete healing and restoration. There was no medication that could control the boy’s erratic behavior. Only a prayer prayed in faith and the touch of the Master’s hand would work. There are some things in life we cannot fix, no matter how hard we try. You may find yourself encouraging a family member to get help for alcoholism, an eating disorder, long-term drug abuse, or uncontrollable seizures. No matter what you say or do, it just isn’t enough. They cannot hear you and refuse to listen. You see where this is headed, and feel powerless to stop it.

Can the Lord of life cast out your demons like He did for the young boy? Can Jesus completely release you from the pain you struggle with day after day? After the child was healed, the disciples asked Christ, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” Jesus said, “This kind can only come out by prayer.”

A faith-filled prayer, trusting in Christ alone, will take you from sin to salvation, from suffering to healing, and from eternal separation to everlasting forgiveness and grace. We cannot manufacture this kind of faith. It is a gift of God. Are you ready to pray a simple prayer of faith today?

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: healing – the kind that only comes from faith in Christ. We face our demons every day. There is only One who has the power and authority to free you. Ask the Lord to help you overcome your unbelief, and trust Him to heal your broken life now.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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