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March 6th: Impossible? Pray.



Scripture: Mark 9:13-32


Impossible? Pray.

Today’s passage of Scripture is one that I am often drawn to and for good reason. It contains two phrases that resonate deeply with me. In verse 24, we read, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” This raw admission of faith mixed with doubt speaks volumes to our human experience. How many times have you thought or said out loud something that sounds similar? Additionally, Jesus imparts wisdom in verse 29 when he says, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Why couldn’t we/I do it Jesus? Did you remember to pray?


The scene is set in the valley below while from atop a mountain where Jesus, Peter, James, and John experience the transfiguration. The other disciples are below, ministering to the people. Amidst their efforts to minister, chaos erupts with a boy afflicted with an impure spirit. Despite employing all, or most of their training and skills, the disciples find themselves unable to quell the turmoil or bring about healing.


How often do we find ourselves in similar situations, feeling helpless as our efforts yield no results? It's when Jesus is invited in or through making his presence known that hope returns. Yet, even then in the aftermath of a healing, the disciples remain bewildered. They likely recount their efforts to Jesus, only for Him to gently remind them, “you forgot to pray.”


Indeed, prayer holds immense power. Yet, it's a power we often overlook, especially in the midst of busy agendas or tasks. I've personally noticed this oversight most keenly when leaving meetings, whether church-related or otherwise, where the urgency of the agenda or laziness overshadows opening with prayer. Ashamedly, even in the midst of the sorrow of funeral meetings and the joy of planning for weddings, I was left remembering too late that we forgot to pray.


I am sure I am not alone but have different circumstances.  We understand that prayer is powerful. Sometimes we forget, other times we put it off, and still there are times we are left muttering, “I do believe; help my unbelief.” But it's not just forgetting to pray for others; it's also struggling to believe in the power of our own prayers. Many of us, myself included, readily acknowledge the power of prayer when interceding for others, yet harbor doubts when it comes to praying for myself. It's a perplexing paradox.


Recently, I learned a valuable lesson: when praying for others, incorporate a request for personal healing as well. This simple shift in perspective bridges the gap between faith and doubt, reminding us that we too are worthy recipients of God's grace and intervention. When things feel impossible, did you remember to pray?


Questions:

  1. What areas of your life are you stuck saying, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”?

  2. Where are you skipping prayer out of haste? E.g.…meetings, breakfast, lunch, dinner, bedtime.

  3. Not a question but a statement. You are worthy of the graciousness, love, and mercy of God in your life, even when and maybe especially when praying for yourself.


Prayer:

Dear God, when we are lost in the thick of things remind us to pray. When we believe but need some help with our unbelief. Grant us reminders to pray. And through it all, share with us an extra portion of your grace and mercy. Amen.


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