Laymanointing

…. they were unschooled, ordinary men …. they had been with Jesus …. the crippled man healed standing with them – Acts 4:13,14

Is prayer a priority or afterthought?

Recently had a chat with a friend who was preparing for a missions trip to a developing nation.  As he detailed the busy preparations his group were making for the ministry trip, … just couldn’t help ask,
Does the team pray together?

In Mark Chapter 9, the disciples were on a ministry trip, and they encountered something interesting …

Mark 9:14-29 (NIV)
14 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.”

While Jesus, John, James and Peter were on a high mountain (Mark 9:2-13),
the rest of the disciples were alone in the valley,
a father brought his son who was afflicted by an evil spirit for them to minister.

About the man’s son:

17  “… 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.”

About the disciples’ assistance to the boy:

18 … I asked your disciples to drive out the spirit,
but they could not.”

Worse still, this caused

14 …. a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them.

Due the boy not being set free … the disciples were probably trying their best to answer the condemning accusations of the teachers of the law, … so much so that a large crowd gathered.

And the fruitless situation was affecting the desperate father

22 “…. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.”
24 …the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”

A stressful situation for anyone to be in.

So, it was a great relief that Jesus arrived on the scene from the mountain.

15 As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him.

The confusion, the arguments ceased when Jesus showed up.

Jesus had compassion on the father and his son, He delivered the boy.  The boy was restored.

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.

Later, in a retrospective over what happened, the disciples asked Jesus,

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.”

Interestingly, sometimes the Lord allows us to miss our goal … in order for us to learn His ways.

What does Jesus mean “This kind can come out only by prayer.” ?

Wasn’t it earlier that Jesus had given His disciples authority to drive out evil spirits?

Mark 6:6,7, 12,13  (NIV)
6 …Then Jesus went around teaching from village to village.
Calling the Twelve to him, he began to send them out two by two and gave them authority over impure spirits.

And the disciples had personally experienced success in driving out evil spirits and healed the sick.

12 They went out and preached that people should repent.
13 They drove out many demons and anointed many sick people with oil and healed them.

So … what was different this time?

For a start, who was to pray?
The disciples.

What praying was Jesus refering to?

At the beginning of Jesus’ ministry in Mark 1, Mark notes a little but important observation about Jesus,

Mark 1:32-39
32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”
38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”
39 So he traveled throughout Galilee, preaching in their synagogues and driving out demons.

Later in Mark 6, again Mark notes,

Mark 6:45, 53-56 (NIV)
45 Immediately Jesus made his disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to Bethsaida, while he dismissed the crowd.

46 After leaving them, he went up on a mountainside to pray.prayer

53 When they had crossed over, they landed at Gennesaret and anchored there. 54 As soon as they got out of the boat, people recognized Jesus. 55 They ran throughout that whole region and carried the sick on mats to wherever they heard he was. 56 And wherever he went—into villages, towns or countryside—they placed the sick in the marketplaces. They begged him to let them touch even the edge of his cloak, and all who touched it were healed.

In between very busy days of continuous ministry to multitudes,
Jesus prayed,
He spent time alone with the Father daily.
He made time to pray.

Isaiah 50:4 (NKJV)
“The Lord God has given Me The tongue of the learned,
That I should know how to speak A word in season to him who is weary.
He awakens Me morning by morning,
He awakens My ear To hear as the learned.”

While on earth … even Jesus, Himself  made time to pray daily.
How about us?

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if, … each morning,
we hear the Lord’s word to speak in season to him who is weary?

Jesus also led his disciples in this discipline as well,
as Mark records,

Mark 6:30-43 (NIV)
30 The apostles gathered around Jesus and reported to him all they had done and taught. 31 Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat,
he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”
32 So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

A quiet, solitary place … to rest … and pray,
so that ministry flows from a position of rest in Him,
as He works through us.

In this situation … there were so many people with all kinds of needs to minister tothat they did not even have a chance to eat

Yet … Jesus called a time-out … ‘take a break, guys

Isn’t ministering to those in need more urgent …. saving the world more important?
Thankfully, Jesus lovingly knows how much we can take, …. before our bodies and spirit become weary & we become less alert. …

Time out.
Be careful of burnout.

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

Later in Mark’s gospel, as Jesus prepared to face his final hours,
in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed, and urged His disciples to join Him.

32 .. Jesus said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.”

37 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping….
38 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Once more he went away and prayed
Mark 14:32, 38, 39 (NIV)

Back to the deliverance of the boy in Mark 9,
Right after Jesus answered why the disciples were not able to deliver the boy,
we read …

30 Leaving that region, they traveled through Galilee. Jesus didn’t want anyone to know he was there,
31 for He wanted to spend more time with his disciples and teach them
(
Mark 9:30,31 NLT)

Jesus took them away.
Jesus focused on a private time of teaching & ministry to His disciples,
… as His time in Jerusalem approached … as a new season was dawning

Time-out, … time away from ministry to the multitudes,
just to sit … and learn from Him,

Time to refresh.
Fresh manna … fresh anointing … fresh strength … fresh message.



Jesus said,

John 15:5, 16 (NIV)
I am the vine; you are the branches.
If you remain in me and I in you,
you will bear much fruit;

apart from me you can do nothing.

16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.

Fruit … or nothing?
The ball is in our court.

2 Corinthians 3:5 (NIV
Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves,
but our competence comes from God.

May be … sometimes …
we’re too busy to pray,
or too busy ministering to others … to pray.

Or … perhaps, sometimes,
we are so confident of our abilities, talents, gifts, anointings
or scripted methodologies, playbook
or organisational ability,
or intellect,
or training/qualifications, practice/rehearsals,
or presentation skills, showmanship,
or previous successes,
… etc,
that prayer ends up at the bottom of the our ‘To-do’ list.

Or, perhaps,
prayer is viewed as purely unseen & passive.

Its like a world-class athlete who goes to a race without training,
or a renowned musician who goes to a concert without practising,
just solely relying on their divine given ability and talent.
Can one afford not to have behind the scenes
unseen training, … unheard practising?

John 3:6 (ESV)
That which is born of the flesh is flesh,
and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

It is true that today, with all the tech, training, & resources available to us,
we can pull off very polished meetings, … excite the senses … move and ‘wow‘ the crowds.

However,
only His presence and power can touch and transform hearts,
heal sick bodies and set people free.

temporal event … or bear fruit—fruit that will last ?

“You unbelieving generation,” Jesus replied
Prayerlessness and unbelief are siamese twins which feeds upon each other.
On the other hand, … faith, confidence and trust in the Lord’s ability is expressed through our prayers … through honestly & humbly expressing out need for the Lord;
“I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!”, the boy’s father prayed.

1 Peter 5:8,9 (NIV)
Be of sober spirit, be on the alert.
Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion,
seeking someone to devour.

But resist him,
firm in your faith,
knowing that the same experiences of suffering are being accomplished by your brethren who are in the world.

We are dealing with an unseen spiritual enemy,
seeking someone to devour,
therefore, in any ministry or spiritual warfare situation,
we should be alert, be on our guard, and take things seriously.
Pray.

Let’s engage with the Lord first, … before engaging the enemy.

The disciples had all been given authority over evil spirits,
however,
…. like Jesus
… we all need to make time, to go to a quiet, solitary place
… to rest … and pray.

and serve Him from a position of rest,
as He works in & through us.

Amen.


Acts 4:31 (NIV)
After they prayed,
the place where they were meeting was shaken.
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and spoke the word of God boldly.

After they prayed … the place … was shaken
whenever we read the Gospels and Acts accounts, … we find prayer was central, active and powerful … and yielded tangible outcomes & blessings by the Lord’s mighty hand,
And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and spoke the word of God boldly.


In the Old Testament, Samson was given an anointing of supernatural strength to deliver Israel from their enemies, the Philistines.
While Samson confidently relied on his anointing and ability, and saw great success in his ministry
…. somehow … his prayer life diminished,  …
till one day … he found himself asleep on the lap of a Philistine prostitute in her home in enemy territory;
physically and spiritually asleep,

Judges 16:19-21 (NIV)
19 After putting him to sleep on her lap, she called for someone to shave off the seven braids of his hair, and so began to subdue him. sd
And his strength left him.

20 
Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!”
He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.”
But he did not know that the Lord had left him.
21 Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding grain in the prison.

And his strength left him.
But he did not know that the Lord had left him.

Samson did not know that the Lord had left him.

Presumption or faith, … flesh or spirit,
is the Lord in it?

Samson was overcome by the enemy with little struggle.

O, may the Lord helps us.

(more of Samson’ story is found on another post,
When a leader fails … what then? click here)


Jesus said, apart from me you can do nothing
How dependent are we on the Lord?

Beyond everything else,
… do we genuinely desire for the Lord to show up,
with a supernatural move of His hand?

Or is it business as usual, …
see you next week,  more of the same next meeting?

But if it is by the Spirit of God that I drive out demons,
then the kingdom of God has come upon you.
Matthew 12:28 (NIV)

Prayer begins with a desire,
a yearning for something more,
… something beyond ourselves.
apart from me you can do nothing

Imagine … what could or would happen …
if we invest ourselves in prayer?

Prayer, anyone?

 


Jesus said,

John 15:7,8
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

On a further note, in Mark’s gospel, here are two other occasions prayer is mentioned,

Mark 11 (NIV)
22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered.
23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

25 And when you stand praying,
if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them,
so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

In the garden of Gethsemene, Jesus said,

Mark 14:38 (NIV)
38 Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

From these 2 passages,

Mark 11:25 and 14:38 are similar to a portion of the Lord’s prayer,

12 And forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from the evil one.’
Matthew 6:12,13 (NIV)

Prayer — getting our hearts right with the Lord, and our hearts right with those around us.
Praying for ourselves to the Lord to deliver us from the evil one,
and strength against the evil one’s snare/trap, i.e. temptation (see Samson).
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Prayer is asking in His name – whatever you ask for in prayer
Prayer is also proclaiming in His authority –  if anyone says to this mountain
both requires faith … “Have faith in God,”

Faith is the key …
Asking in His name –  believe that you have received it
Proclaiming in His authority – believe that what they say will happen

And the result,
it will be done for them … and it will be yours.

1 John 5:14
14 This is the confidence we have in approaching God:
that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.

Jesus said,

John 15:7,8 (NIV)
If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

As we ask …. according to his will,
and we  remain in Him and His words remain in us
he hears us

it will be done for you … to my Father’s glory … you bear much fruit

Amen.


Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.

I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.

I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.

— Henry F Lyte
(Luke 24:29)


Faith & Prayer | Serving Quietly

by 林弟兄, bro Lim
July 25, 2015
laymanointing.wordpress.com

Copyright © 林弟兄 bro Lim, Laymanointing, 2014-2016 – All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons License

 

 


 

 

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This entry was posted on July 25, 2015 by in Daily Rice, Faith & Prayer, Ministering Spirit & Truth, Serving Quietly and tagged .

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