Mark 9:28, 29: Restoring the power 2: Prayer.

“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.” NIV UK

In the church, we often find ourselves in the selfsame position as the disciples in this story. We are powerless in the face of evil. But we shouldn’t be. We don’t have to be.

In yesterday’s thought, I asked the question: ‘What makes for a powerFULL church? I said that Jesus places three ‘keys’ into the hands of His followers. The first one is faith.

The second key is prayer. The church that learns to kneel before God in prayer is on the way to experiencing His power. I don’t think there has been a powerful move of God that did not begin with the blended knee (metaphorically speaking). The commentator, Matthew Henry, famously said, ‘When God intends a great mercy for His people, first He sets them a praying.’ This has been the story of revival after revival. It might be just a few people who catch the vision; who feel the burden. But revival fires are lit in prayer, and are stoked by prayer.

Somebody said, ‘Little prayer, little power; some prayer, some power; much prayer, much power. I think most Christians (probably all) instinctively know this is true. But who will ‘pray the price’? We are experts at paying lip service to what we know about prayer. Is it any wonder that so many churches are so very weak, and find themselves impotent in the face of great human need?

The increase of faith is very much linked to prayer:

‘We all have some faith, but it is mixed with unbelief, with doubt. We must continually ask Jesus to increase our faith, so that our doubt and unbelief may be overcome. It is mainly because of unbelief that we receive so little from Christ and that our work for Christ is so weak and ineffective…Prayer is the means of receiving power. We must combine prayer with faith. Without faith, our prayers are ineffective; without prayer, our faith is ineffective. For effective praying, faith is necessary; and to obtain faith, prayer is necessary. The more we pray, the more will be our faith. The more we believe, the more effective our prayers will. In Matthew 9:29, Jesus says: ‘’According to your faith will it be done to you.’’ Praying in faith is like turning on the switch of an engine: if we do not turn it on, the engine will not run.’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied New Testament Commentary’,p.248.

PRAYER: Lord God, please pour the Spirit of prayer upon your people. Teach us to pray.