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Promises

Examples of Faith #9—Jesus, Part 2

The diseased boy’s father said, “If you are able to do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” Then Jesus said to him, “‘If you are able?’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Mark 9:22–23

When Jesus knew he needed power for engaging in the ministry God had given him to proclaim and demonstrate the arrival of God’s reign, he prayed. It’s not that he prayed while he was engaged in a task. He prayed ahead of time so that he would be confident that God’s power would be present when he needed to deploy it. For example, once he took Peter, James and John up to the top of a mountain to pray—something Jesus did regularly by himself. They returned the next day to encounter a situation where his other disciples, who had recently traveled the countryside proclaiming the gospel and healing people, could not cast out a demon. Jesus scolded the disciples for their lack of faith and turned to engage directly with the people seeking help. Having been disappointed by the disciples, the father of the afflicted boy questioned Jesus’ ability. Jesus responded concerning his ability by saying  that he was able to access the blessings of God’s kingdom because he had sufficient faith. Later, when the disciples asked why they had failed, Jesus explained that success in this type of situation depended on prayer. Not prayer at the moment, clearly, since he hadn’t prayed at that time, but preparatory prayer. He was teaching them, and us, that it is necessary to engage in prayer ahead of time in order to become completely confident—that is, to have faith like Jesus’ faith—that God’s power will be available to exercise on behalf of those in need.

O God, my heart tells me to pray to you, and I do pray to you. Be gracious and hear my prayer and strengthen my confidence in your presence and power to extend your grace through me.

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