“A spirit of this kind,” he said, “can be driven out only by prayer.”
well drawls Jimmy Jesus
words are the least of prayer
they are but echoes
of a lived connection
did I pray or not
with direct address and command
here’s your next assignment
learn to pray without prayer
Earlier we proposed that Jesus’ command to the spirit of muteness was a prayer. Now it is important to look past the surface to questions about prayer being less formal than spoken or cast more widely.
Was prayer a whole constellation of being that then surfaces in words? What was missing in what Philippians 2:5 calls the “mind of Christ”. Without a consciousness of this “mind” or “being”, unformed prayer that goes beyond intention is not able to coalesce.
Many commentators identify the request of the parent to help their “unbelief” as the prayer referred to here.
This connects faith and its organization as a catalyst in healings. There have been prior examples of the faith of another being an important component of healing.
Faith and prayer are just ambiguous enough to have us think we know what they are and can mobilize them to get our way.
Myers115 is helpful about unbelief not being “incorrect doctrine”:
For Mark, unbelief is the despair that is dictated to us by the powers and principalities of this world. Unbelief is a life script that is fixed and says to us that nothing can really change. If we accept this life script and the despair that comes with it, the revolutionary vision and practice of the gospel are rendered impotent.
Prayer for Mark is that personal and communal struggle against this temptation to despair. It is wrestling with the demons within us that tempts us to abandon the way of Jesus. Prayer is naming and casting out the demons that silence us and make us docile before the status quo of self and society.