SCRIPTURE : Mark 9:17-29
This new year’s theme is: “The Power of Prayer: Deliverance, Hope, and Sacrifice.” As we begin 2022, the Lord challenges us prepare for the things (both good and not so good!) to come during this new year. We need to emerge in moments of reflection, consecration, and transformation, knowing that God is calling us to live out His purpose in our lives. This is the year that we will embrace the power of prayer.
Prayer is the key to our victory! Prayer is the means by which we connect to the power of God, and prayer is what enables us to experience the glory of God. When we pray, when we come before the presence of the living God, things happen! Nothing stays the same when we are touched by the Spirit of God. Deliverance occurs for “the truth will set us free”, Hope is rekindled for “anything is possible for God” and being a “living sacrifice” truly becomes a way of life that is “pleasing and acceptable” to God. With the power of prayer, we are perfectly equipped to face any challenge, and fight any battle in the name of the Lord! We have victory over all things! ***
Jesus’ encounter with a desperate father whose son was extremely ill exemplifies how the power of prayer changes and transforms lives. The above-stated Scripture speaks about a boy “possessed by a spirit” needing deliverance and how his father came to Jesus and the disciples for help. Needless to say, Jesus prayed for the child and the child experienced immediate liberation and healing! But what transpired throughout this stirring encounter taught the disciples, and most importantly, teaches us crucial lessons concerning the power of prayer and our roles as “Prayer Warriors” with a purpose in God.
Firstly, we must never forget that prayer and our ability to tap into the power of God is not only for ourselves but for all those around us…family, friends, co-workers, and even strangers. There are so many people in the same situation as that father who came to Jesus. There are so many people suffering from all kinds of diseases, so many facing taunting personal problems, and so many drowning in a sea of hopelessness. These people are searching for solutions, and we are the ones God has called to bring forth the good news of the gospel, and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit! It is the church who in the name of Jesus can rebuke the enemy and free the captives from sin. It is in Jesus’ name that we break the chains that hold down our brothers and sisters and free them to experience victory in the Lord. This is called DELIVERANCE! Glory be to the living God!
Secondly, we must embrace what the Apostle Paul conveyed to the believers in Rome;
“… therefore, I urge you… to offer your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God. This is your spiritual act of worship.” (Romans 12:1) The power of God only becomes real when the church commits itself to praying and praising in “spirit and in truth”. Interestedly enough, the father, before going to Jesus, went to the disciples with his son. Sadly, the disciples couldn’t do anything for them…they were helpless! Upon Jesus intervening to bring forth the miracle of healing, the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn’t do the same, and Jesus’ responded:
“…this kind [situation] can come out [can be stopped] only by prayer and fasting.” The disciples immediately realized that power only comes as we fervently pray and surrender our lives to God.
Soldiers go to great length to train and prepare for war. They do so at great sacrifice understanding that their lives, as well as the other soldiers’ lives, depend on them being ready and fit. We are no different! We must be ready to face a formidable enemy who is looking to devour and destroy. That calls for us to pray more, praise more, and proclaim more! God calls us to go beyond our ritualistic routine to truly seek dialogue and relationship with Jesus, our Savior. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Miracles still happen, liberation still occurs, and transformation still takes place.
And all we need to do is PRAY!