by Graham Mol
In Mark chapter 9 we find an account where Jesus comes down from the mountain where He was transfigured to find His disciples and a crowd of people gathered around them. A father had brought his son to the disciples for them to drive out a demon that had been giving the boy seizures, yet they were unable to drive it out.
Jesus is able to successfully break the boy free of the demonic oppression.
After this event the disciples ask Jesus privately:
“Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
To which Jesus gives this reply:
“This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”
It’s those final words that I’d like to focus on here: Nothing but Prayer. There are some things, some situations, some challenges that cannot be overcome or resolved by anything other than prayer. In this account of the demon possessed boy we find one situation, but there are many others. I have come to appreciate this more and more as I grow in my journey with the Lord, as I’ve come to see and acknowledge the limits of my own ability and knowledge as well as that of others.
It is not easy to admit “defeat”, that one does not have the answer to the questions being asked, or the solution to the problem that is being faced. The good news is that we are not truly defeated in such situations because, as Jesus reminds us, what is impossible with man is possible with God.
Our approach to any problem should first of all involve prayer, not passive relinquishing prayer, but active prayer that leads to action, guided by the Holy Spirit. Yet there will be times where our best efforts are not and cannot be enough. The answer then is “nothing but prayer”.
Because God can do so much of what we cannot, for example change a person’s heart, prayer remains the most potent thing we can do when we face challenges in life. One of my greatest joys is to witness how God answers prayers, even if we have to wait longer for them than we’d like as we submit to waiting on His perfect timing.
There is nothing like prayer and so even when we have nothing but prayer, we have all we truly need.