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When Jesus, Peter, James, and John came back to the other followers, they saw a great crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. But as soon as the crowd saw Jesus, the people were surprised and ran to welcome him. Jesus asked, “What are you arguing about?” A man answered, “Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has an evil spirit in him that stops him from talking. When the spirit attacks him, it throws him on the ground. Then my son foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes very stiff. I asked your followers to force the evil spirit out, but they couldn’t.” Jesus answered, “You people have no faith. How long must I stay with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.” So the followers brought him to Jesus. As soon as the evil spirit saw Jesus, it made the boy lose control of himself, and he fell down and rolled on the ground, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has this been happening?” The father answered, “Since he was very young. The spirit often throws him into a fire or into water to kill him. If you can do anything for him, please have pity on us and help us.” Jesus said to the father, “You said, ‘If you can!’ All things are possible for the one who believes.” Immediately the father cried out, “I do believe! Help me to believe more!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was quickly gathering, he ordered the evil spirit, saying, “You spirit that makes people unable to hear or speak, I command you to come out of this boy and never enter him again!” The evil spirit screamed and caused the boy to fall on the ground again. Then the spirit came out. The boy looked as if he were dead, and many people said, “He is dead!” But Jesus took hold of the boy’s hand and helped him to stand up. When Jesus went into the house, his followers began asking him privately, “Why couldn’t we force that evil spirit out?” Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.” Mark 9:14-29
The below content is borrowed from Pastor Jack Hayford’s devotional: “Celebrate”.
An Atmosphere of Faith
In this passage Jesus tells us that “believing” is the condition for answered prayer for a healing. The father of the demon-possessed boy answered in tears, “I believe,” then added, “Help my unbelief!” Since faith is a gift, we may pray for it as this father did. Note how quickly God’s grace answered!
Jesus rebuked the disciples because they could not cast out the mute spirit, calling them “faithless” (v. 19). In Matthew’s account of this incident, Jesus said that if one has faith as a mustard seed he can move a mountain (Matt. 17:20).
But there is another lesson to be learned: where an atmosphere of unbelief makes it difficult to believe, we should seek a different setting. Even Jesus’ ability to work miracles was reduced where unbelief prevailed (Matt. 13:58). As we go through the day, let us not diminish Jesus’ ability to work in us. Prayer and praise provide an atmosphere of faith in God and welcome His presence in our lives.