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      Nurturing people in the image of God since 1868.                                                                          POB 397/520 Dry Creek Rd./Smithville, TN

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Only By Prayer

There are times when brilliance and brawn simply won't win the battle, especially if the other side has more brilliance and/or more brawn. Philip Yancy writes that after the American Civil War ended, someone asked George Pickett, the Confederate general who led "Pickett's Charge" at Gettysburg, to explain why his side lost. He pulled on his whiskers for a moment, then replied, "Well, I kinda think the Yankees had a little somethin' to do with it" (Reaching for the Invisible God, p 63). For 140 years historians and military strategists have studied every detail of the Battle of Gettysburg in an effort to understand exactly why the South lost. In the end, it is hard to improve on Pickett's simple analysis: "the Yankees had a little somethin' to do with it." The South simply found itself needing more help than was available.

Mark 9 records the incident of a man whose son was afflicted with a severe case of demon possession. After describing the demon's effect on the boy, the father told Jesus in verse 18, "1 spoke to your disciples, that they should cast him out, but they could not." Later, after Jesus cast the demon out, the disciples asked the Lord privately, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" and Jesus replied, "This kind can come out only by prayer" (vs 28b-29a niv). Only by prayer! That little phrase contains a tremendous truth - there are problems that physicians, pills. procedures, policeman, prisons, presidents, parents and preachers can't fix! There are "demons"  that can be driven out only by prayer - that is, only through the power and help that comes from God. What demons are you dealing with that are proving difficult to drive out of your life? Is it chronic anger, hatred and bitterness after a bitter divorce or broken dream? Is it the demon of jealousy and discontent when you see others who seem more materially blessed than you are? Are you deluded by the demon of pride and snobbery into thinking that because you are prettier or smarter or richer or more popular than others that you are somehow better than them? Is the demon that won't let you go pornography or profanity, adultery or anxiety? Or is it the demon of doubt and despair that demoralizes and discourages you? The word from Jesus is that prayer can bring the power of God into your life! Charles Hodge wrote, "I do not believe in prayer, I believe in God: therefore, I pray .... Prayer is power because God is God. Prayer works because God works! (The Voice of Faith:   Resource Publications, 1966. p 11) Prayer may not alter what is going on around us. But through prayer God can alter what goes on inside us as we submit our lives to him in trust and obedience. Only by prayer! Therefore, let us pray!

Dan Gulley
Smithville church of Christ