In Mark 9:14-29, Jesus meets a man with a huge problem. His son, who is mute, is possessed by an evil spirit that tosses him around like a rag doll. The young man foams at the mouth and attacks things with his teeth like a wild dog. He throws himself into fires and nearly drowns himself in water. In modern times, some refer to the boy as an epileptic. Others agree that he was demon-possessed. Whatever position you take on that score, you must admit you wouldn’t want to be in Bible Dad’s shoes.
At the time of his encounter with the Savior, Bible Dad and his poor wife are probably raising other children whose quality of life is hampered by their sick brother’s illness. The family undoubtedly endures one protracted sleepless night after another. Perhaps they’re taunted, criticized and ridiculed. Maybe Bible Dad and Bible Mom’s family is ostracized and forbidden to attend the local synagogue for fear that the evil spirit inhabiting “that boy” will enter someone else’s child.
I have to hand it to Bible Dad. He doesn’t simply wallow in his situation. He seeks help. Chances are he’s taken his son to an untold number of physicians over the years. Perhaps he’s even resorted to following faith healers or paid pagan practitioners of the occult to heal his son. At some point, though, he confers with the disciples of the strange new Rabbi. And, guess what? They can’t help his son either.
Know what I’m thinking? Bible Dad, it’s over. Let it go. But, B.D. makes one last desperate attempt to salvage his son’s life. Jesus addresses a question to a group of scribes; and, instead of permitting the esteemed scholars to answer, Bible Dad—a man whom the King James Version of the Bible refers to as “one of the multitude”—interjects. Talk about nerve. If you think that’s amazing, take a look at what I learned about getting a prayer answered from reading the rest of B.D.’s story.
1) STATE YOUR PROBLEM. Jesus already knows what it is, but it doesn’t hurt to say the words.
17 Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not. Mark 9:17-18.
2) IF NECESSARY, BRING TANGIBLE EVIDENCE OF THE PROBLEM TO JESUS. If you need a job, present the newspaper clipping for that position you desire. If you’re ill, point out that lump on your calf.
19 [Jesus said, B]ring him unto me.
20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.” Mark 9:19-20.
3) ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU NEED HELP WITH A SITUATION YOU CAN’T ADDRESS ON YOUR OWN. Sometimes, we fall under the misguided notion that we can handle anything the devil, the world, our flesh, or our neighbor throws at us. Then, the worst happens. Tell Jesus about it.
21 And [Jesus] asked [the boy’s] father, How long is it ago since this [evil spirit] came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us. Mark 9:21-22.
4) LISTEN TO THE LORD’S RESPONSE AND/OR INSTRUCTIONS. He may say, “Hold on.” He may say, “Get up.” He may say, “Not now.” Whatever His response, we need to acknowledge and accept it.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth. Mark 9:23.
5) STATE EMPHATICALLY THAT, ALTHOUGH YOU HAVE FAITH…
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe… Mark 9:24.
6) …YOU LACK SUFFICIENT FAITH, AND ASK GOD TO INCREASE IT. Okay. Maybe this isn’t a problem for you, but I can’t say the same. So, humor me. This is a biggie when it comes to life or death situations or glaring financial obstacles.
24 … [H]elp thou mine unbelief. Mark 9:24.
7) WITNESS GOD’S DIVINE INTERVENTION. Once you’ve “turned it over to Jesus,” just sit back and watch as He tackles the issue.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose. Mark 9:25-27.
*** DON’T FORGET TO PRAISE GOD FOR WHAT HE’S DONE. The scriptures don’t allude to Bible Dad’s response to his son’s deliverance, but I think we can safely fill in the blanks here. Lots of praises, tears, singing, dancing and more praises.
So, tell me. Was there ever a time you followed the 7 Simple Steps to an Answered Prayer? What was the 0utcome?