ONLY BY PRAYER
When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!” Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up. Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
Mark 9:25-29 NLT
The nine disciples were unable to bring freedom to the boy tormented by demonic spirits. Jesus shows up and simply speaks to the demonic spirit and immediately the spirit left the boy. The people thought the boy was dead. Then Jesus helps him up and everyone had to be amazed at what they just saw. When Jesus and the disciples are alone, they ask him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?” Jesus answers, “this kind can be cast out only by prayer.” If you check out the notes in most study Bibles and commentaries you will discover many major Ancient Greek manuscripts have “prayer and fasting” at the end of verse 29. Some scholars believe “and fasting” was added early by some scribes to the textual tradition to support asceticism. But the words fit the text in that it calls for a greater level of commitment than the disciples may have had at that time. It is possible that Jesus was teaching them, and us, that some miracles in our lives occur only when we choose to discipline our physical bodies by denial of food in order to be more sensitive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. Physical denial seems to open the door to spiritual revelation and empowerment. I have seen in my own life that when I choose to deny my body food for a specific time there is a release of greater sensitivity to the Holy Spirit. It seems I have greater clarity and understanding of God’s will and direction. This is the understanding that releases empowerment. When Jesus teaches in scripture about fasting He uses the term, “When you fast.” It was obviously an expectation that followers of Jesus would fast. Fasting in that day involved food. I believe in addition to fasting food we can fast entertainment—things like television, video games, social media, and movies. It is amazing how sensitive we become the Holy Spirit when we deny our flesh. I wonder what God could do in us and through us if we were more sensitive to hear what He wants to say and simply act on His voice.
Holy Spirit help me to listen more deeply to you. Help me to be willing to deny my flesh to quicken my spiritual ears to Your voice.
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