This is and interesting one. Unfortunately, it has been abused a lot of times. And because of that abuse, there has been a reaction that has caused it to be avoided entirely. We’ll get into some of that in a bit, but for now, let’s see what it is.
They called on God for the casting out of demons.
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer” (Mark 9:29)
I’ve heard of a lot of pastors over the years trying to cast out demons. On very rare occasions, I’ve heard them describe the kind of changes we see in scripture associated with having a demon cast out. And we see here, in scripture, an example of men attempting to cast out demons and being unsuccessful. These weren’t just any men, they were disciples of Jesus. They had gone out and performed miraculous signs in God’s name. But for some reason they weren’t able to cast out these demon.
Then Jesus, comes back and does it for them. Letting them know that this kind of demon can only be driven out by prayer. From what we have in Mark about this, we don’t see that Jesus stopped and prayed. What does that mean? Perhaps, it means that He was always praying, and could be in conversation with the Father at all times.
We hear that great phrase from Jesus that sounds like so many other times he shared the idea, “All things are possible for the one who believes.” To which the father replies, “I believe, help my unbelief.” So, now we see yet another component needed – belief.
Here’s where I am on this. Do I think there are demon possessed people in our time. I do. What I’m not sure about is what constitutes as demon possession. I don’t think many of those who have been thought to be demon possessed have actually been so, at least not in our time. For a while, we were too quick to write off mental illness and odd behavior as demon possession. Now, we don’t attribute anything to demon possession. I would guess that the most of what we see is mental illness. But, I can’t know for sure.
What I do know is that casting out demons requires faith and prayer at the very least. And if we are in a good relationship with God, he will certainly lead us in those times if we need to cast out demons. We still live in a dark world. There is evil all around us. We must be careful. But, in all things the foundation is this, Faith in God and prayer – which is an expression of reliance on his will. “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done…deliver us from evil.”
The Three for Morning, Afternoon and Evening.
“Now for Next” Prayer
What do we need to do now as a church to be ready for what God has for us next.
“What’s My Role” Prayer
Pray for God to show us the role we will play individually in accomplishing that mission.
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.