Prayer Devotional, Mark 9:14-29

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Hello brothers and sisters,

The verses below deal with something all too common for struggling Christians. Something we all experience and do serious battle with. It is that age-old, pestering, irritating, never-seeming-to-surrender……… doubt. Yes, dear Christians, whether we admit it or not, we all struggle at times with a lack of faith. We doubt our Father, who gave to us His Only Begotten Son. We doubt the One who spoke the world into existence and upholds all things by the word of His power (Hebrews 1:3).

Unfortunately, this lack of faith manifests itself often when we pray. During the time we should have some of our most intimate fellowship with God, we doubt Him. Even though we read His Word describing His absolute perfection in all that He is and does, we still doubt Him. We doubt His character, His ability, and His wisdom. This is not acceptable for the Christian. This should grieve us to the core.

Although it is true that all of us struggle with doubt in the Christian life, we are never to be content with it. We need to fight it by asking God for greater faith and trust in Him, and by relying on His Spirit and His Word to confirm truth in our hearts. And as is common advice with many of these devotionals, we need to take our eyes off of us and our feeble abilities, and redirect our minds onto Jesus Christ.

Our circumstances and emotions matter to us too much when we are anxious. They can squash our trust in God if we dwell on them for too long. God doesn’t get anxious. Circumstances don’t phase Him. Remember, He is the One who tells the waves just how far they are allowed to go (Job 38:11). He made the sun stand still for a full day (Joshua 10:13). Oh, and there’s this too…………He conquered death by rising from the grave!!

Now, let’s make sure we are balanced here. We don’t want to go to extremes with over-emphasizing the quality of our faith. Otherwise, we’ll get depressed and feel too ashamed to even pray. In fact, that is the whole point of the prayer in this passage- that we don’t always have it together, and we shouldn’t be surprised at that. We sometimes fear that our prayers will be too weak and lacking too much faith for God to really answer us. And this could lead us to not even pray at all. But this should not be! Whatever the condition of your faith, pray! In fact, if your faith is feeling extra weak, that is all the more reason to pray. So don’t get overly introspective about it. That is not healthy. Recognize it for what it is, and get on your knees.

We have a wonderful example below that proves God answers prayer not according to the largeness of our faith, but because of His great power, mercy, and compassion. It only takes faith the size of a mustard seed to move the hand of God. The father of the demon-possessed boy in the following passage is proof of this. His faith was very small.  But he was not content with that, was he? He knew that, although his faith was weak, His God is infinitely loving and powerful! This should make us resolute in our prayer lives. All glory to God!

Mark 9:14-29

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. 18 And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?”29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

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