There are at least two things wrong with my prayer-life. I lack a genuine expectation that God can and will answer my prayers. I lack faith. Too often, I pray, not really expecting God to answer, and when He does, I’m surprised.
The second missing component in my prayer-life is desperation or urgency. Too often I pray without much passion, without a hungering and thirsting for God’s heart.
How about you? Be honest! Does your prayer-life need a kick-in-the-pants? Mine does.
The synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) each record the story of a desperate daddy who came to Jesus. Let’s take a peek at his problems and his prayer.
Jesus, along with His three inner-circle disciples (Peter, James, and John) had been on the Mount of Transfiguration (Matthew 17:1-13, Mark 9:1-13, Luke 9:28-36). It was truly a mountain-top experience! The disciples saw the glorified Jesus talking to the two Old Testament saints, Moses and Elijah. Unforgettable… almost unimaginable! Wow!
Arriving in the valley, Jesus found His other disciples struggling to minister to a frantic father and his broken and beleaguered child. Listen to the heart-broken daddy.
“Teacher, I brought my son to you. He has a spirit that makes him unable to speak. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid” (Mark 9:17-18).
With care and compassion, Jesus looked into the blurry eyes of the overwhelmed daddy. “How long has this been happening to him?” (Mark 9:21). He cared about the man and his boy. I can almost see Jesus reach out and place a gentle hand on the dad’s shoulder. “Tell me about it! I’m listening! Unload your heavy burdens… I’ll carry them for you!”
Were there tears running down the desperate daddy’s cheeks? “He’s struggled his whole life… And many times it has thrown him into fire or water to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us” (Mark 9:22).
Don’t miss it… Listen to the desperate daddy’s prayer. “If you can…” Have you ever prayed that prayer? “God, if you are bigger than my problems… God, if you love me enough… God, if you know the answer…”
Jesus’ response then is still Jesus’ response today. “ ‘If you can’? Everything is possible for the one who believes” (Mark 9:23). God is big enough. He does love us enough. He does know the answer. So, let’s follow the lead of the desperate daddy. “Immediately the father of the boy cried out, ‘I do believe; help my unbelief!’ ” (Mark 9:24).
Jesus answered the desperate, faithful prayer. “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’ ” (Mark 9:25). Everything changed! A miracle! Restored by the command of Jesus! Rescued by God’s grace!
God isn’t disappointed in our prayers. He isn’t mad because we’re not super-faithful and extra-urgent. Jesus is as compassionate today as He was then. He throws His loving arms open to us and says, “Come to me!” (Hebrews 4:15-16). “Give Me your burdens!” (1 Peter 5:7). “Be persistent! Ask… seek… knock…” (Matthew 7:7). Grace awaits us…