Why Pray?

by Rev Lai Kai Ming

Readings: Mark 9; Psalm 119:129-152

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Mark 9:28-29
And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”

Another tough saying from the Lord. The disciples’ question indicated that thus far, they have been able to cast out all other demons by the authority that Jesus had given them. Yet, this was different. But why? In Matthew’s account of this episode, Jesus said the disciples lacked faith, adding that “this kind” could only be cast out by prayer (and fasting). It would be fair to assume that Jesus himself had prayed before He dealt with his particular demon. If Jesus had to pray, may we not be so presumptuous to think that we are exempt.

Why pray? This theological question has bugged me since my early days as a Christian. I even have a book with that title! I have come to the conclusion that prayer is a mystery, and the only way to understand it is to pray. To pray is to realize that we have an important part to play in God’s saving work. If we don’t pray, He might allow certain important work to be left undone. We would then miss out on the joy and privilege of being His partners. It is my prayer, that in the coming year, God will help me to pray more, and pray better. This is a prayer that He will certainly answer!

“Lord, teach me how to pray!”