Chapter 9 of the Gospel According to Mark finds Jesus returned from a mountain top experience embodying Moses and Elijah. While there, his inner circle fixated on life after death. It was as if they had never seen Moses and Elijah in the life of Jesus (and you and me). Returned to another conflict, Jesus orders a turbulence from a young one.
When asked why the Jesus-lite weren’t able to be effective, the response was, “prayer” (paralleled with “ordered”).
The inner disruption, here, is identified as “deaf and mute.” It is helpful to browse back to Chapters 7 and 8 to revisit the stories of a deaf and mute foreigner and a blind homey. These make use of another element—spit. Attend to such links.
Prayer is not importuning or appeal to a third-party. Prayer grossly orders and spits. Acts of resistance are prayers. Bowed heads and holy tones are not acts of prayer. At best, these are some possible outer garments that vary from culture to culture and time to time.
Listening together and speaking together are acts of prayer that need no formalized patterning to authorize them as vehicles moving toward the healing of the nations and the honoring of lives, one by one and all together.
Prayer is not building chapels on the mountain or masking a desire to be top-leader. Prayer is an energetic engagement with ill-health, public or private. It requires as much energy as frothing at the mouth and going all in, even to death. Anything else sells a life short and prayer shorter. There is no time to avoid the listening and speaking needed for a community to thrive.
The all-too-common appeal for “thoughts and prayer” has no connection with reality, the act of prayer referred to by Jesus. Engagement includes the difficult work of analysis and strategy (additional acts worthy to be named “prayer”). Engagement that does not entail risk to self and others is not prayerful.
Prayer opens 8 more ways to reembody the past and inspire any tomorrow. Go ahead—spit out your prayer and follow where it goes.