A Practicum in Healing Prayer

Our Rabbi, Jesus, humbly enters a chaotic scene involving a community of disciples, religious leaders, a crowd, a family and a hurting child. Tenderly, he invites them to change their focus back to him and see how he heals the oppressed. He offers the same invitation to us today to learn his unforced rhythms of grace. Jesus’ presence is a healing presence. Through prayer, Jesus offers us his presence. When we bring another with us into the presence of Jesus, we join his mission and ministry of intercession, deliverance and healing. This day, do you hear Jesus say, “Bring the child to me”?

Mark 9:14-29 (NLT)
14 When they returned to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd surrounding them, and some teachers of religious law were arguing with them. 15 When the crowd saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with awe, and they ran to greet him.
16 “What is all this arguing about?” Jesus asked.
17 One of the men in the crowd spoke up and said, “Teacher, I brought my son so you could heal him. He is possessed by an evil spirit that won’t let him talk. 18 And whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him violently to the ground. Then he foams at the mouth and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast out the evil spirit, but they couldn’t do it.”
19 Jesus said to them, “You faithless people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
20 So they brought the boy. But when the evil spirit saw Jesus, it threw the child into a violent convulsion, and he fell to the ground, writhing and foaming at the mouth.
21 “How long has this been happening?” Jesus asked the boy’s father.
He replied, “Since he was a little boy. 22 The spirit often throws him into the fire or into water, trying to kill him. Have mercy on us and help us, if you can.”
23 “What do you mean, ‘If I can’?” Jesus asked. “Anything is possible if a person believes.”
24 The father instantly cried out, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that the crowd of onlookers was growing, he rebuked the evil spirit. “Listen, you spirit that makes this boy unable to hear and speak,” he said. “I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again!”
26 Then the spirit screamed and threw the boy into another violent convulsion and left him. The boy appeared to be dead. A murmur ran through the crowd as people said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and helped him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 Afterward, when Jesus was alone in the house with his disciples, they asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out that evil spirit?”
29 Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.

Questions to consider in your reflection and prayer:
1. As you listened, was there a word, a phrase, an image, or something else that stood out to you? Notice what it stirs in you. Have a conversation with Jesus about this.
2. What did you notice or observe in Jesus as he interacts with the crowd, the boy, the boy’s father, and/or the disciples? Is there anything about Jesus’ way of being that you are drawn to? Or which increases your love for him?
3. How have you experienced deafness or muteness is your own life? How has Jesus met you in it?
4. Reflect on how Jesus has delivered you. As you recall and remember, bring your story to Jesus and have a conversation with him. Is there more he reveals to you?

Open to Being Changed

Willing, open to receive, eager to be healed--these words and phrases  describe the deaf and mute man who was led to Jesus by others. He agreed to come; he was willing to go alone with Jesus, to experience Jesus' gentle and intimate touch, his compassion and love, to look into Jesus' eyes as he waited, willing and open, hopeful.

Hearing and speaking clearly were miracles for this man. No doubt he reentered his life in a new way having had this intimate and amazing experience with Jesus. His life had been dramatically changed and transformed. 

Are you willing to go alone with Jesus, with openness and eagerness to experience God's power and presence?  It is life-changing.

Mark 7:31-37  (NIV)
Jesus Heals a Deaf and Mute Man

Then Jesus left the vicinity of Tyre and went through Sidon, down to the Sea of Galilee and into the region of the Decapolis.[a] There some people brought to him a man who was deaf and could hardly talk, and they begged Jesus to place his hand on him.

After he took him aside, away from the crowd, Jesus put his fingers into the man’s ears. Then he spit and touched the man’s tongue. He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, “Ephphatha!” (which means “Be opened!”). At this, the man’s ears were opened, his tongue was loosened and he began to speak plainly.

Jesus commanded them not to tell anyone. But the more he did so, the more they kept talking about it. People were overwhelmed with amazement. “He has done everything well,” they said. “He even makes the deaf hear and the mute speak.”

Footnotes:
a.    Mark 7:31 That is, the Ten Cities

•    What did you hear as you listened/read?  A word, a phrase? What stood out for you?
•    What might need to “be opened” in you?
•    What is it that God might you to want to hear and speak more clearly?
•    What do you need?
•    What happens when you get alone with Jesus?