Mediation is to focus attention upon a topic and rehearse it repeatedly throughout the day.  It is suggested that the verse of Scripture be written on a 3×5 note card and carried with you during the day.  At different times during the day, pull out the card and review the verse.  At the end of the day, write out a personal application on the back of the card and file it in your personal devotional file box.
Mark 9:29, This kind cannot come out by anything except prayer [and fasting].”

While Jesus and the inner circle of disciples (Peter, James, and John) were experiencing the glories of the transfiguration of Jesus and the appearance of Moses and Elijah, the other nine disciples had been left behind at the bottom of the mountain (Mk. 9:2-9).  During the absence of Jesus, His nine disciples had been approached by a man with a son who had been demon possessed since childhood.  According to the father’s own words, he “told” the disciples to cast the demon out.  The ESV translates the original phrase as “asked” which sounds more polite but literally his comment was, “I said to your disciples that they should cast it out.”  The ESV was most likely influenced by the parallel passage in Luke 9:40 where it is recorded that the man “begged” the disciples to cast it out.  The full picture is probably that he approached the disciples with the statement, “you should cast out the demon” and as it did not take place, the father became more frantic and pleaded with them to do this work, but nothing happened.

The inability of the disciples to exorcise the demon brought controversy between them and some of the Jewish scribes as a great crowd gathered listening in on the debate.  Once Jesus had arrived, the father offered Him a detailed history of the demon’s torment of his son and criticized His disciples for failing to cast it out (Mk. 9:14-18).  Jesus’ response indicates His impatience with them (including His nine disciples) for their lack of faith and understanding.  Jesus commanded the spirit to leave the boy and immediately the boy was healed (Mk. 9:25-27).

The lesson to be learned from this event is given in verse 29, “This kind cannot come out by anything except prayer [and fasting].”  The phrase “and fasting” is not included in some newer versions but there is ample support in a few very old Greek and Latin manuscripts that it should be included (as it is in the KJV and NKJV).   Jesus’ point is that some spiritual issues are not to be approached casually.  The disciples misunderstood “their power” (cf Matt. 10:1 and Mk. 6:13) and apparently tried to cast the demon out on their own, thus Jesus tells them that prayer was required.  Prayer would demonstrate dependence upon God and give Him the glory for the results.

Too often we become casual in our approach to God and our Christian lives.  We are often frustrated and assume God’s power must have failed when in reality; we failed to depend upon God with deep faith in His power and good will.  It is not our “spiritual disciplines,” not our great wisdom, nor our rehearsed religious clichés that grants power and victory, but dependence upon and faith in God.


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