And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”-Mark 9:28-29
I was reading a book a few days ago, I don't recall what one, though perhaps it was Keller's King's Cross. Regardless, the author was discussing this section in the book of Mark when Jesus casts out a demon that the disciples have been unable to cast out. Jesus comes to the child and easily heals him of his convulsions. The demon comes out of the boy, Jesus takes his hand, and the boy stands.
Afterwards, it seems, the disciples are confused. Why couldn't they cast it out? They want to know from their teacher what he did. He tells them simply, "this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer." As I read the words of the disciples, I began to think of areas of besetting sin in my own life. I can hear echoes of myself in their words. God, why can't I cast this sin out? God why do I continue to struggle with this sin? I have done everything that I can think of to get rid of it, why is it still there?
And then Jesus words serve as an eye-opener. "Jason, this kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer."
Why, after having followed Christ for the last 25 years, do I still try to do things by my own effort? Why is my reliance upon prayer yet so weak? Because I still think I can do it. I still think that my sanctification is me and God--I do my part, He does his. In a way, that is true. However, the truth of this comes in the recognition that my role is to echo the father in this story who said, "I do believe! Help my unbelief!" I must call upon the Holy Spirit and rely upon His power to deal with these sins are only destroyed by prayer.
Father, may you increase my reliance upon prayer.