Mark 9:28-29 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. “
It has always struck me as interesting, to say the least, that even though Jesus said that prayer was required, there is no record in this narrative of Him praying in the process of the exorcism. Only two possibilities occur to me. The first is what has been called “telegram prayer,” such as exemplified by Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2:4. (These days many younger people have no idea what a telegram is. Maybe they would understand if we called it a “prayer tweet.”) Since such are rarely out loud, Jesus’ prayer would not have been recorded. The other possibility seems to be that of being “prayed up” ahead of time. Prayer is fellowship with our Father, so this could have been referring to a deep level of intimacy with God. This actually is a very important question in ministry, because no one on the earth today experiences the “success rate” of healing and deliverance that Jesus did. That said, if we didn’t try, none of the people to whom we minister would be healed or delivered! In this story, it is significant that the disciples were genuinely puzzled as to why their efforts weren’t successful. They had already experienced being sent out by Jesus, commissioned by Him to heal and deliver, and seeing success as they did so. (Luke 10:17) We sometimes forget that we have been commissioned by the Son of God to be His agents! We won’t “bat 1000,” but if we stay humbly related to Him, we can expect His power to operate through us. “Prayer tweets” are entirely appropriate, on the base of regular, deep fellowship. After all, Jesus said that it is to the Father’s glory that we bear much fruit! (John 15:8)
To be honest, I don’t reach out in deliverance as often as I used to. That’s probably because I haven’t seen as many successes as I would have liked. And probably I was inhibited by not wanting to appear foolish if nothing happened. How foolish of me! I am forever telling other people to take their eyes off of themselves, and yet I draw back from ministry because of concern as to how I will look! Yesterday a young man came into the gallery who was obviously “not right,” and dealing with him was tiring to say the least. However, it never occurred to me to act for his deliverance. I’ve got plenty of room to grow as the Lord’s agent! I need to stay in fellowship with my Lord so that I will recognize His appointments and not run from them. I want to be the kind of disciple that demons hear about and try to avoid! (Acts 19:15)
Father, thank You for this wake-up call! Some people with active deliverance ministry visiting Japan have said that there are so many, they literally don’t know where to start. Keep me from launching out on my own, but help me be fully, obediently responsive to You so that I may set people free according to Your will for Your glory alone. Thank You. Hallelujah!