Mark 9:18b-19 “…I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.”
This past Sunday at North Life, we had the privilege of Pastor Tim Christoson preaching a tremendous message on prayer that deeply stirred our church. Here are the notable excerpts of the sermon that I believe will truly be a blessing and challenge to you:
How does that “faith” activate or demonstrate itself? How could you measure faith, or how would you know if you’re a person with growing, deepening, strengthening, exercising faith? According to H.B. Charles, “Prayer is arguably the most objective measurement of our dependence on God. The things you pray about are the things you trust God to handle. The things you neglect to pray about are the things you trust you can handle on your own.” Jesus desires to step into our lives and work in ways that amaze us, but His doing so often hinges upon our faith-based prayer connection to Him.
The Unsolvable Problem of the People
Notice the troubled child (vv. 17-18, 21-22a). The demon caused muteness, seizures, painful episodes of writhing and foaming at the mouth, even attempting to cause him to fall into open fires or pools of water. There’s no greater trouble than the trouble the devil brings, and there’s no more painful experience than knowing that the devil is having his way with someone’s precious child.
Notice the inadequate disciples (v. 18b). They had been given this power (Mk. 6:7, “gave them power over unclean spirits”), but this time it did not work. Notice three disheartening words – “they could not.” Life has a way of showing us how inadequate we are and therefore, how much we need prayer! (The most unsolvable problem is how to save our souls and deliver ourselves to Heaven, and we’re inadequate, without prayer, for that task, as well.)
The Unstoppable Power of Jesus
His power is unlimited by circumstances (vv. 22-23). The question is not “If He can help.” The question is “If you can believe.” The question is never God’s ability to meet your need. The question is only ever whether you have faith that He can. This does not mean that “having faith” causes God go give you whatever you “name and claim.” Or we get everything we want…life will be problem-free. But this is a story where it was God’s will to heal the boy, and it was God’s will to use the disciples, but they were unable, as a result of a lack of faith. Jesus specifically said to the father that his faith would trigger God’s work on His behalf. Faith is not knowing God will do something or demanding that He do something. But it is believing that He can—believing it enough that we seek Him for it.
His power is unleashed by faith (vv. 23-24a). The father’s faith was what connected him to God’s unlimited power. Hebrews 11:6 declared, “…he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Romans 14:23 adds, “…whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” This may be a far greater sin than any of us realize—our failure to believe! Sometimes it’s not God’s will to solve a problem or change a situation. But other times, we fail to receive all that God wants to give us because of a lack of faith.
The Unique Place of Faith
Imperfect faith is sufficient for the Lord to work (v. 24b). God works with those whose faith is imperfect/incomplete!!! Don’t attempt to hide your doubts/questions from Jesus. Bring them to Him. Jesus declares in Matthew 17:20, “… If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.” A seed is something small, that can grow into something huge if planted in the rich soil of God’s promises.
Faith is practiced through prayer and fasting (vv. 28-29). Jesus said that there were certain need that would only be met by prayer and fasting. Prayer is the road that our faith travels, to the power of God. There’s more about it we can do after we pray, but there’s nothing more important we can do than pray. As D.L Moody anticipated, “[Upon my arrival in Heaven] Next to the wonder of seeing my Savior will be, I think, the wonder that I made so little use of the power of prayer.”
Mark 9:28-29 “And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”
Jesus desires to step into our lives and work in ways that amaze us, but His doing so often hinges on our seeking Him, by faith, through prayer and fasting.
Thank you, Pastor Tim Christoson, for faithfully sharing God’s Word with us! May we all take it to heart in our glorious privilege of intercession before the Lord.