Thoughts for the Day

Monday, 20th May 2024: A healing prayer

Disciples Prayer Mark 9 Healing

Reading : Verses from Mark, Chapter 9


When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. When the whole crowd saw Jesus, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet him. He asked them, ‘What are you arguing about with them?’ Someone from the crowd answered him, ‘Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so.’ He answered them, ‘You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me.’

And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it threw the boy into convulsions, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, ‘How long has this been happening to him?’ And he said, ‘From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us.’ Jesus said to him, ‘If you are able!—All things can be done for the one who believes.’ Immediately the father of the child cried out, ‘I believe; help my unbelief!’

When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, ‘You spirit that keep this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!’ 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 was able to stand.

When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’

(Lectionary, New Revised Standard Version)


We spent some weeks looking at St Mark's Gospel from (7th January to 13th February this year), and now our Lectionary picks up where we left off. Jesus has just descended the Mount of Transfiguration (Mark 9.2-8) with three of his disciples when he is faced by a crowd squabbling over the inability of the disciples to heal a boy. The account goes from the sublime to everyday reality. Peter had wanted to stay on the mountaintop, but this could not be for Jesus was now heading towards Jerusalem and to the cross.

We too have to live our lives in the everyday situations that arise. It has always amazed me, for instance, how often over the years I have left a wonderfully uplifting act of worship to immediately face an ordinary drama that will test my patience to the limit, forcing me to confess to God my shortcomings. Living the Christian life is carried out in the mundane moments!

But why is it when Jesus had previously sent his disciples out to heal they had been successful, but this time they fail to heal the boy of what looks like leprosy? Jesus says such a healing "can only come through prayer". The answer is that God gives each of us gifts but these need to be honed with His help, and frequently used, or we can expect to lose them. We lose our singing voice unless it's used, similarly the ability to speak a new language if not practiced. Jesus had given his disciples the power to heal, but in failing to nurture that gift through prayer they had lost it. Only after Pentecost when they receive the power from the Holy Spirit would things change for them.


Lord Jesus Christ,
we admit the times we have forgotten
to turn to You,
except when we are in dire need;
the times we have only asked Your help
for ourselves and not for others;
and the times when we have only thought
of our local concerns
and forgot the rest of the world.
Help us to keep in close contact with You
so that You can guide us each day
as we draw nearer to You.

Follow Up Thoughts

You might like to look up this, particularly the first paragraph:

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