Answers to our prayers bring conflict, division and opposition. “When Jesus came to the other disciples, he saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them (the other nine disciples).” Our attempts to believe in the power of Jesus will always lead to conflict, division, and opposition. Nine other disciples had tried to heal one boy. They had failed. Earlier these nine, plus Peter, James, and John, had gone out in pairs and healed all they met. They had driven out demons. Now their failure to help one boy threatened the reputation of Jesus. If his disciples proved to be frauds, then the Scribes’ argument that Jesus was a false teacher would carry greater weight.
Answers to our prayers includes humility. “A man came and knelt before Jesus.” In contrast to the nine disciples and the Scribes, the father moved passed arguments and acknowledged that he needed Jesus’ help. Casting blame hinders our ability to draw close to Jesus. Forgive, be reconciled, and draw near to him.
Answers to our prayers include repentance for both us and others. The father said, “Lord, have mercy on my son.” James declares that the prayers of righteous individuals are powerful (James 5:16). Even though none of us are righteous on our own, through the blood of Christ we are made righteous. Before we make our requests to God, repent, confess our sins, and in humility come before God with our prayers lists of petitions.
Answers to our prayers include clear and detailed descriptions of the affliction or situation. “My boy has seizures and suffers greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. He is possessed by a spirit that robs him of speech. Whenever this spirit seizes him, it throws him into convulsions and onto the ground. He foams at the mouth. He gnashes his teeth. He becomes rigid. He suddenly screams. This spirit scarcely ever leaves him. This spirit is destroying him.” Effective prayer includes specifics. Not because Jesus needs to know, but because we need to be able to testify later of all that he did. In listing details of the affliction we give weight to the power of Jesus’ healing and help. But we should be careful not to glorify the affliction or situation. Do not claim it as yours by saying, “My ____ (disease, problem).” The affliction or situation is not ours. It’s of the devil. He came to steal, kill, and destroy and Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil.
Answers to our prayers often include a recap of past attempts at healing and help. “I brought my boy to _____ but they could not heal (help).” Before Jesus healed the woman with the issue of blood, we learn that she had spent all she had on doctors but none could help her. In fact, she grew worse. The contrast of failed attempts at healing and help reveals our need for God in all situations. We should be careful, however, not to blame on those who tried to help us and failed. Blame and shaming can block the flow of healing and help from God.