Mark 9:14-29 – The Connection Between Prayer and Unbelief

When the disciples saw Jesus cast the evil spirit out of the epileptic whom ‘they could not cure,’ they asked the Master for the cause of their failure. He had given them ‘power and authority over all devils, and to cure all diseases.’ They had often exercised that power, and joyfully told how the devils were subject to them. And yet now, while He was on the Mount, they had utterly failed. That there had been nothing in the will of God or in the nature of the case to render deliverance impossible, had been proved: at Christ’s bidding the evil spirit had gone out. From their expression, ‘Why could we not?’ it is evident that they had wished and sought to do so; they had probably used the Master’s name, and called upon the evil spirit to go out. Their efforts had been vain, and in presence of the multitude, they had been put to shame. ‘Why could we not?’
Well might the disciples have asked: ‘And why could we not believe? Our faith has cast out devils before this: why have we now failed in believing? ‘The Master proceeds to tell them ere they ask: ‘This kind goeth not out but by fasting and prayer.’ As faith is the simplest, so it is the highest exercise of the spiritual life, where our spirit yields itself in perfect receptivity to God’s Spirit and so is strengthened to its highest activity. This faith depends entirely upon the state of the spiritual; only when this is strong and in full health, when the Spirit of God has full sway in our life, is there the power of faith to do its mighty deeds. And therefore Jesus adds: ‘Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by fasting and prayer.’ The faith that can overcome such stubborn resistance as you have just seen in this evil spirit, Jesus tells them, is not possible except to men living in very close fellowship with God, and in very special separation from the world—in prayer and fasting. And so He teaches us two lessons in regard to prayer of deep importance. The one, that faith needs a life of prayer in which to grow and keep strong. The other, that prayer needs fasting for its full and perfect development.
Faith needs a life of prayer for its full growth. In all the different parts of the spiritual life, there is such close union, such unceasing action and re-action, that each may be both cause and effect. Thus it is with faith. There can be no true prayer without faith; some measure of faith must precede prayer. And yet prayer is also the way to more faith; there can be no higher degrees of faith except through much prayer. This is the lesson Jesus teaches here. There is nothing needs so much to grow as our faith. ‘Your faith growth exceedingly,’ is said of one Church. When Jesus spoke the words, ‘According to your faith be it unto you,’ He announced the law of the kingdom, which tells us that all have not equal degrees of faith, that the same person has not always the same degree, and that the measure of faith must always determine the measure of power and of blessing. If we want to know where and how our faith is to grow, the Master points us to the throne of God. It is in prayer, in the exercise of the faith I have, in fellowship with the living God, that faith can increase. Faith can only live by feeding on what is Divine, on God Himself.
It is in the adoring worship of God, the waiting on Him and for Him, the deep silence of soul that yields itself for God to reveal Himself, that the capacity for knowing and trusting God will be developed. It is as we take His word from the Blessed Book, and bring it to Himself, asking him to speak it to us with His living loving voice, that the power will come fully to believe and receive the word as God’s own word to us. It is in prayer, in living contact with God in living faith, that faith, the power to trust God, and in that trust, to accept everything He says, to accept every possibility He has offered to our faith will become strong in us. Many Christians cannot understand what is meant by the much prayer they sometimes hear spoken of: they can form no conception, nor do they feel the need, of spending hours with God. But what the Master says, the experience of His people has confirmed: men of strong faith are men of much prayer.

Andrew Murray

Read Mark 9:14-29 and notice the lack of unbelief on the both part of both the disciples and the father of this child. How does this resemble your belief? How can you grow in this area? Where can your prayer life increase to serve in your growth in belief?

I Asked The Lord That I Might Grow by Sovereign Grace

Posted on: November 23, 2018 - 10:37AM

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