I’ve always been intrigued by the scene in Mark 9: 14-29. The disciples tried to cast out an unclean spirit and failed to do so. The father pleads with Jesus to help his son. Jesus asked him a question and the father answered, “But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Jesus, replied, “If you can! All things are possible for one who believes.” Without hesitation the father said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” and it was granted to him. I’ve quoted that line many times: Lord, I believe, help my unbelief! But it isn’t that line that intrigues me most. At the end of their time there, the disciples pulled Jesus aside and asked him why they couldn’t cast it out. Jesus replied, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
Prayer. That’s what the disciples were lacking. It wasn’t that they needed greater knowledge or more strength. They didn’t need an increased gifting or boldness. The disciples needed to pray and ask God to do what only he can do. And that’s what you and I need too.
I became a Christian at the age of 22 but it took three years from the first time the young girl shared the gospel with me to the moment I surrendered my life to the Lord. After I became a Christian, her friends and other church members would come up to me at different times with a repeated phrase, “I had been praying for you!” That stuck with me. All of those people had been praying for me for years and God heard their cries on my behalf. What captured my heart and attention could not be driven out by anything but prayer. Now I’m his forever.
Maybe there’s something impossible that you have on your heart but have been reluctant to bring to the Lord. If you are anything like me, perhaps you haven’t asked him to do a miracle because you are afraid of being disappointed. That’s where we join the father in Mark and proclaim, “Lord I believe, help my unbelief!” Today, ask God to do the impossible. It just might be the thing that cannot be driven out by anything but prayer. Pray—he is listening.