Mark 9:20–27 (ESV)
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. And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.” And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!” And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 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.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
Needless to say, after Jesus cast out the demon, the father’s unbelief was “helped.” Seeing the supernatural jumps your belief in the supernatural. Jesus granted the father’s request perfectly. If faith is being sure, this guy now has faith.
But, faith in what? What’s he sure of? He’s obviously sure that Jesus can cast out demons. Is that it?
He must have heard of Jesus and of His reputation; that’s why he came to Him. He believed something about Jesus, maybe even that He’s the Messiah. His casting out the demon sealed that. “It’s all true!”
This passage is the perfect example of one of the ways faith can be strengthened—personal experience of the presence of God.
If you want to experience the presence of God (and who doesn’t?) the key is prayer. Prayer, especially prayer that seeks His will, is a lens through which you can see God. Without prayer, things just happen. With prayer, things happen for a reason. Just imagine if Gideon hadn’t prayed for God’s guidance.
Then Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said, behold, I am laying a fleece of wool on the threshing floor. If there is dew on the fleece alone, and it is dry on all the ground, then I shall know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have said.” And it was so. When he rose early next morning and squeezed the fleece, he wrung enough dew from the fleece to fill a bowl with water. Then Gideon said to God, “Let not your anger burn against me; let me speak just once more. Please let me test just once more with the fleece. Please let it be dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground let there be dew.” And God did so that night; and it was dry on the fleece only, and on all the ground there was dew. — Judges 6:36–40 (ESV)
Without his prayers, Gideon would have just thought the unusual dew patterns were strange. Instead, they were profound, faith building insights.
Gideon’s “lens prayer” made all the difference.
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