When they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and some scribes arguing with them. When the whole crowd saw him, they were immediately overcome with awe, and they ran forward to greet Jesus. He asked them, "What are you arguing about with them?" Someone from the crowd answered him, "Teacher, I brought you my son; he has a spirit that makes him unable to speak; and whenever it seizes him, it dashes him down; and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid; and I asked your disciples to cast it out, but they could not do so." He answered them, "You faithless generation, how much longer must I be among you? How much longer must I put up with you? Bring him to me." And they brought the boy to him. When the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the father, "How long has this been happening to him?" And he said, "From childhood. It has often cast him into the fire and into the water, to destroy him; but if you are able to do anything, have pity on us and help us." Jesus said to him, "If you are able! All things can be done for the one who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out, "I believe; help my unbelief!" When Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, "You spirit that keeps this boy from speaking and hearing, I command you, come out of him, and never enter him again!" After crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, "He is dead." But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he was able to stand. When he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, "Why could we not cast it out?" He said to them, "This kind can come out only through prayer." Mark 9:14-29
We all have days when we feel as if we simply cannot do it any more. We may be overwhelmed by jobs, or loss, or the needs of our family. We may be overwhelmed by our fears and inward terrors, our failures and the demons of our past and present. Whatever, we humans are all overwhelmed and overcome some days. We cannot do much alone, but some days, we all the power of heaven to just get us through. It is those days when only prayer can get us through, only prayer can find us release, only prayer can right our sinking ships. And only God breath in our lungs, God's word on our lips, God's touch in our hearts, will restore us to life.
Jesus finds the disciples trying desperately to heal a tormented child. The presence of Christ, the presence God is only thing that changes this scene at all. They whole crowd is beside themselves, torn up by failure and dashed hope. It is only God in our midst, God down from the mountain, love incarnate right here in the middle of our great mess, that brings about a new lease on life. We are invited today to pray when overwhelmed, praying without ceasing until God is in our midst.
Today some people are having their worst day eve. May God use us all to be that loving presence, the praying friends, the people who will help bring the presence of God into the midst of our worst and most debilitating circumstance.