Today’s Daily Lesson comes from Mark 9:14-29:
14 When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. 15 When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. 16 He asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” 17 Someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; 18 and whenever 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, but they could not do so.” 19 He answered them, “You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.” 20 And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. 21 Jesus asked the father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. 22 It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.” 23 Jesus said to him, “If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.” 24 Immediately the father of the child cried out,“I believe; help my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!” 26 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 was able to stand. 28 When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
Amidst the chaos that is parenting, and especially parenting a child with special needs, and all the frenzy and fear and full-time worry over keeping the child safe and out of harm’s way, and the belief of the mountain where we know all things shall be well and all manner of things shall be well, and then the unbelief of the valley below where we wonder if this child will even make through the day, amidst all these things it turns out that the real problem is not in the child at all. The child is not the problem. The problem is, well, also the answer: it’s our prayer.
Now hear me, I have wrestled with this one. As a parent of a child with special needs, I sympathize with the father in this story. I have worried over my son being drawn into the lake by our house or into a busy street. I too have felt the panic of taking my eye off him for a split second and not knowing where or wha he wandered off and into. And no, I don’t think prayer is going to take it all away, somehow “cure” autism. But again, maybe autism isn’t the problem. My son is not the problem. The chaotic, frenzied, faithless spirit is really not in Daniel. It’s in me.
And so, I hear Jesus’ words: “This kind can only come out through prayer.” And what I hear Jesus speaking of is not the spirit of this boy, but the spirit of the man. And it can only come out with prayer.
Prayers for serenity for times beyond control.
Prayers for acceptance when things don’t go as planned.
Prayers for courage to face challenging situations.
Prayers for strength to get through today.
Prayers for forgiveness when I am hurting or hurtful.
Prayers for help to get me through today’s doubts.
Prayers of gratitude because all life is gift.
“This kind can only come out through prayer.”‘ What kind? Anxiety, anger, impatience, resentment, guilt. Those kinds. Those kinds do come out with prayer.
They can only come out through prayer.