The horrific shooting in the Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday rocked the nation as yet again, evil inflicted pain, suffering, and death upon our world. Often our gut reaction is to look to each other and our leaders for answers and solutions in such times — and thus the fight against evil becomes political. In the Book of Mark, Jesus heals a boy who had been suffering at the hands of an evil spirit. His father pleads with Jesus to save his son, though not entirely sure that Jesus can, for his son has suffered since childhood. The father has just about given up hope that anything can be done to make his son better. Haven’t we all been there before and can feel the pain and fear of that father? However, Jesus heals the boy and drives out the evil spirit. Afterwards, Jesus has an interesting exchange with his disciples. The Bible says, “After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” There are things in life that can only be cured by prayer, and no prayer is too big for God. The moments when we are unsure if a solution exists are the moments when big, bold prayer is the solution. Today, pray boldly for those affected by the Pittsburgh shooting and all other shootings. Pray for God to be the solution that this world collectively turns to.
“When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. 15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.
16 “What are you arguing with them about?” he asked.
17 A man in the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought you my son, who is possessed by a spirit that has robbed him of speech. 18 Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, gnashes his teeth and becomes rigid. I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit, but they could not.”
19 “You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied, “how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy to me.”
20 So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth.
21 Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?”
“From childhood,” he answered. 22 “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.”
24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”
25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.”
26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.
28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
29 He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” — Mark 9:14-29 NIV