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A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the evil spirit.  ‘You deaf and mute spirit,’ he said, ‘I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.’. . .  After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn't we drive it out?’ He replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer.’” -Mark 9:25, 28-29

In this passage, the disciples are faced with a situation that proves to be too difficult for them.  Jesus tells them that prayer is the solution. Surely the disciples had prayed as they tried to cast out the evil spirit. So what was the problem? John Piper suggests that the disciples had probably “been caught in a prayerless period of life or a prayerless frame of mind.” Their prayerlessness impeded their ability to be used by God against the forces of evil that confronted them that day. How often have we regretted our own prayerlessness?

Certainly we can and should turn to God in prayer during times of crisis, special opportunity, or increased spiritual battle.But our ability to deal effectively with those situations is more determined by our daily prayer life than by the words spoken in the critical moment. When the telephone rings with sudden news about a loved one, when a friend speaks hurtful words, when temptation strikes, when a co-worker unexpectedly asks us about our faith; these are moments not for extended prayer, but for action. We are accustomed to praying fervently before important events or assignments, yet some of the most significant tests in life come unplanned or unforeseen. Our “regular” praying should keep us in a constant state of readiness to respond in each situation according to God’s will. 

Our daily communion with God is critical for fruitfulness and perseverance in our walk as Christians. Regular time spent with Him and in His Word builds up reservoirs of faith, trust, wisdom and strength that we can draw from in times of need. Let us pursue Him in prayer today, seeking to be filled by His Spirit with all the power and authority we will need for whatever battles, trials, or ministry opportunities He may allow in our lives.

Lorri Bentch
Vice President of Operations