“If you can do anything for him, please have pity on us and help us.

Mark 9:22

This prayer doesn’t sound courageous or confident. It doesn’t sound as though it would be an effective or aggressive prayer.

This was simply the desperate prayer of a parent with a demon-possessed son in need of a miracle.

Read the whole story of Jesus healing a boy with an evil spirit and learn from Jesus’ response to the father’s prayer.

14 And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd about them, and scribes arguing with them. 15 And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed, and ran up to him and greeted him. 16 And he asked them, “What are you discussing with them?” 17 And one of the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a dumb spirit; 18 and wherever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.” 19 And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him; and when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 And Jesus asked his father, “How long has he had this?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 And it has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you can do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 And Jesus said to him, “If you can! All things are possible to him who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You dumb and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again.” 26 And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse; so that most of them said, “He is dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. 28 And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”

Mark 9:14-29 (RSV)

Know this: God is more moved by our hurt than our eloquence. Our prayers may be awkward. Our attempts may be feeble. But since the power of the prayer is IN the one who hears it and NOT the one who says it, our prayers do make a difference.

In Psalm 51, verse 6, King David makes a statement that each one of us needs to consider as we share this lesson and pray over what we’ll learn in the coming week. “you (God) desire truth and sincerity. Deep down inside me you teach me wisdom.”

In verses 10-12 David’s prayer goes on:

“Create a clean heart in me, O God, and renew a faithful spirit within me.
Do not force me away from your presence, and do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and provide me with a spirit of willing obedience.”

Psalm 51: 10-12

Some of our prayer lives could use a tune-up. Some lack consistency. Some need sincerity. And some of us are honestly uncertain if prayer makes any difference at all.

Please, don’t be tempted to wait until you feel certain of the outcome before you to go to God with your truth and sincerity.

“For you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.

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