Scripture: Mark 9:14-29 and Matthew 17:14-21
I remember playing varsity football and basketball in what seems like a faraway time and place. Nothing was worse than playing an away game and losing to a team we should have easily defeated. I can still remember the disappointment sitting on the coach’s brow and the hung heads of a downtrodden team.
The disciples had a strikingly similar experience on the other side of a difficult defeat.
In our main passages, Mark 9:14-29 and Matthew 17:14-21, Jesus finds the disciples and religious leaders of the day engaged in what appears to be a heated debate. The present commotion was an outgrowth of the disciple’s inability to do what they had done before, heal the sick (see Luke 9:10 and 10:17). When Jesus arrives on the scene, out of the crowd emerges a man who explains that he brought his son to Jesus’ disciples to be healed, but this time something is eerily different, and they cannot heal the man’s son.
As expected, Jesus intervenes and a whole and healed son is returned back to his father, family, and community. Can you imagine that long, silent, and somber walk back to the house? I can almost hear the embarrassed and defeated disciples mumbling that that difficult question to Jesus in Mark 9:28, why couldn’t we heal the boy and cast it out? To which Jesus responds, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” Jesus is telling the disciples, there are some challenges in life that require more of you, they literally require you to do what can only be done on the other side of prayer and fasting!
The good news is that lesson still holds true today. If you have different problems, maybe it’s time for a different approach–prayer and fasting?
CPR Kit for the Soul:
- Centering Theme: There is nothing more humbling than defeat, but the greatest defeat is not taking time to re-center and recalibrate in order to review the game film of life and learn from our mistakes.
- Prayer Topic: Lord, teach us to respond to defeat and delayed answers to our prayers, by asking the right questions.
- Reflection Thought: What lessons can I learn from the disciples defeat and how can I apply this lessons to my own life?
T3 Prayer Booster:
- Dear Lord, teach me to not view “this kind” of moment as a defeat, but an opportunity to learn from You how to take my prayer life to another level to meet these present challenges . . .
- Lord, in my time of meditation and prayer I ask that You be present and patient with me, as you reveal to me how to access new heights in prayer for new power in prayer to address “this kind” of situation in my life . . .
- Lord, grant me the desire to carve out the time and space to sit with lessons from this passage, so that I may apply the lessons and emerge victoriously from the inevitable next test I will face . . .