The Tremendous Power of a Timid Prayer

Mark 9:14-29

I.  Like the disciples, you and I sometimes become disoriented.

Illustration:  I travel enough to get lost every now and then.  It may be in the open country or in the inner city or in the growing suburbs, but I do find myself becoming at least briefly disoriented.Can you imagine the feelings of the transportation and equipment unit that took that wrong turn in the Iraqi desert and rode right into the fedayeen?  Almost all were killed or executed.  But then there was the PFC Jessica Lynch.  Apparently, she fought until she couldn’t do so any longer.  Then later, there is the heroic rescue prompted by an Iraqi lawyer whose wife worked at the hospital.  He walked six miles to find the Americans and tell them about the situation of PFC Jessica Lynch.  Being disoriented is a part of life.  Sometimes it has tragic consequences.

II.  Like the scholars, sometimes you and I become skeptical.

Skeptics are often appreciated.  However, in a world where evil seems to be triumphant, even Christians can experience momentary skepticism.  I realize that the scholars or teachers of the law are endlessly skeptical.  Lewis Drummond wrote a book years ago entitled, Reaching the Hard to Reach.  One chapter in the book is devoted to trying to reach the skeptics.Having lived in a university community, I know something about these hard-to-reach skeptics.  However, there are times when you and I can be skeptical.  We can doubt the power of God and the presence of God.  We can argue among ourselves about almost nothing.  Too much skepticism will hinder your growth as a Christian.

III. Like the father, you and I sometimes become fearful.

This father was scared and desperate.  Have you ever felt that way?  Have you ever been overcome by a foreboding sense of hopelessness?  If so, then you know how he felt.He came to the disciples but they couldn’t help him.  He was there witnessing the disciples and the scholars in their debate and argument when Jesus came to intervene.

This man’s desperation and fear were immediately recognized by Jesus.  Our Lord knew suffering and pain when He saw it.  He saw it not only in the son but also in the father.

When the father explained the terrible problem his son experienced, he made a plea:  “If you can do anything, do it.  Have a heart and help us!”

Jesus focused on the word “if.”  “There are no if’s among believers.  Anything can happen.”  Then the father offered his timid prayer.

“Then I believe.  Help me with my doubts.”

“I believe!  Help me with my doubts!”  That is a timid prayer.  Jesus then proceeded to heal the son and joy erupted with the father.

What a prayer!  What tremendous power of a timid prayer!!!

The power is not in the prayer; it is in the One who hears it!!

Do you understand that?  The power is in the One who hears it and answers it.

1.  We are tempted to pray when we know how.
Illustration:  A man in my first church said, “I don’t pray in public.  You are supposed to have a prayer closet for that.  I think he missed the point of what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount, but I did not argue with him.
2.  Sometimes we do not pray because we feel like we have failed in prayer.  “I tried it and it didn’t work for me,” one young person told me.
3. Sometimes we do not pray because we think it runs counter to our own philosophy of life.
“I don’t need anything so I don’t pray much,” he said.  “Why bother God who has to hear all those requests?”I am glad the father didn’t miss this opportunity to pray even though it was a timid prayer!  This prayer is not going to be found in a worship manual or a book of prayer.  Few sermons will hold up this man’s prayer as an example of a Victorious Prayer Warrior, but he prayed anyway.

G. Campbell Morgan was a great English preacher.  He was a prolific writer.  He tells of a lady who was confined to the bed almost all her life with a debilitating disease.  She was a woman of prayer.  Her prayer was that a revival would come to her church.  This lady read a revival pamphlet about Dwight L. Moody and prayed that he might come to her church.  D. L. Moody had already been to England and preached widely in that country.  His 1867/1872 return visit was for pleasure.  However, after hearing about this lady’s desire, he preached a revival at her church.  He also visited her.  (Ten days – 400 members)  Moody signed a birthday book, February 1872. Marianne Adland said to G. Campbell Morgan that she prayed for Dwight L. Moody until he died before 1900.  “Now,” she said to G. Campbell Morgan, “I will be praying for you as you travel to America.”

There is tremendous power in even the most timid prayer!

Rick Lance
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