3 Striking Prayers In The Bible
There are three striking prayers found in the Bible which deserve our individual and undivided attention. Believe it or not - the first one was prayed by a group of three thousand demons. The second was prayed by a multitude of people. And the third was prayed by a man who was just set free from demonic power.
There is so much instruction that can be gleaned from each prayer. May we receive from the Holy Ghost all that He would have us learn from each example.
I. The Prayer Of The Unclean Spirits
Mark 5:11-13 relates - "Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding, And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine; and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand,) and were choked in the sea."
Here we have the demons pleading with Jesus to allow them to go into the swine. They knew that they would be cast out of the man. However, they did not want to be cast into the "deep" as Luke 8:31 says - "And they besought Him that He would not command them to go out into the deep." Some commentators believe that they were referring to the "bottomless pit" mentioned in Revelation 20:1 which is sometimes referred to as the "prison house of Satan" - "And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years." These evil spirits would rather be anywhere but in the "pit" or the "deep." Even though they had the intention to do greater mischief and wickedness, Jesus "gave them leave." He answered their request.
There are two things that we want to observe here. One is that the demons are set on doing their work of mischief no matter which form is available. As soon as they realized that they had to quit their hold of the demoniac, they wanted to continue their mischief in another form. In this case, they entered into the swine - thus destroying the people's property. By doing so, they turned an entire town against Jesus. They went from alienating one man from God to an entire town having their hearts turned against Him.
The second thing we want to observe is that demon spirits are always in a hurry to get away from Jesus. Hence, this argues the importance of living holy so as to have the Presence of the Lord in our lives in a tangible way. The demons cannot stand to be where Jesus' Presence is.
II. The Prayer Of The Multitude
Mark 5:14-17 relates - "And they that fed the swine fled, and told it in the city, and in the country. And they went out to see what it was that was done. And they come to Jesus, and see him that was possessed with the devil, and had the legion, sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind; and they were afraid. And they that saw it told them how it befell to him that was possessed with the devil, and also concerning the swine. And they began to pray Him to depart out of their coasts."
One would think that the strangest prayer ever prayed would be when the demon spirits prayed. Most would find it hard to believe that devils would be found praying at all. Yet, in the above example, we see that they, at times, earnestly entreat God - not as humble supplicants or from a motive of love but out of fear and with a motive to do further mischief
In Mark 5:17, we find an example of one of the strangest prayers ever prayed - a prayer that an entire city lived to regret. Here we see a multitude of people who experienced one of the greatest miracles of all times - a man possessed with a legion of three thousand demons being totally delivered and transformed before their eyes.
Mark 5:3-5 described this possessed man as one who - "had his dwelling among the tombs; and no man could bind him, no, not with chains: Because that he had been often bound with fetters and chains, and the chains had been plucked asunder by him, and the fetters broken in pieces: neither could any man tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains, and in the tombs, crying, and cutting himself with stones."
Imagine trying to raise your children with this man on the loose in your neighborhood. What kind of terror did these people live under - knowing that, at any time, this man could break loose and perhaps attack them or their children?
In these verses of Scripture, we find the demoniac totally delivered - "sitting, and clothed, and in his right mind." Were the people happy to see such a welcome sight? Absolutely not! The Scripture says - "and they were afraid."
Wait a minute! Are these people backwards or what? Shouldn't they be relieved that the "crazy" man was no longer "crazy" and a terror to them and their children? What's up with this?
The strangest part of this entire scenario is the request they offered to Jesus after He demonstrated His might and power in their midst. Verse 17 says - "And they began to pray Him to depart out of their coasts." The whole city came out to meet Jesus - not to bow down and worship Him or declare that He is truly God. On the contrary, they began to plead with Him to depart - to leave them alone.
Why in the world would anyone pray and even plead with Jesus to leave them alone?
These people - after seeing the miracle - trembled. They had some semblance of fear over what just happened. However, it was not enough to overshadow the price that they would have to pay - the cost or consequence of having Jesus invade their life.
These people had an unclean business. They had something which God condemned as abominable. One thing they failed to realize was that when Jesus shows up and works in His power, all unclean things have to be forfeited or given up. They were highly upset that they lost their swine business. It mattered more to them than Jesus having His way or spiritual deliverance coming their way. They didn't want salvation; they wanted their sin.
The demoniac gave up his devils and was totally set free by Jesus. Here were these fine upstanding citizens - who unbeknownst to them - had devils as well. When the time came to give up their sin and devils, they refused. They held onto them and kicked Jesus out of town.
Jesus gave them exactly what they wanted. He answered their prayer. He left them alone. And because they rejected Him, today this entire multitude is in Hell - regretting every minute that they held onto their uncleanness and sin.
Notice that Jesus did not argue, debate, or attempt to change their minds. The Scripture says that as soon as they prayed - "...And they began to pray Him to depart out of their coasts" - what follows is - "And when He was come into the ship..." (Mark 5:18). He left their city immediately. The People's New Testament made this comment on His reaction to the people's rejection of Him - "Christ does not stay where He is not wanted. He never visited the country of the Gadarenes again."
Unlike the demons in the first example, these people were not hurrying to get away from Jesus. On the contrary, they wanted Jesus to hurry and get away from them.
III. The Prayer Of The Delivered Man
Mark 5:18 relates - "And when He was come into the ship, he that had been possessed with the devil prayed Him that he might be with Him."
Before it was too late, the delivered man cried out to Jesus. He knew that the Lord was leaving to go to another country. He did not want to be counted among those who were rejecting Him and petitioning Him to leave their midst.
This newly saved man prayed that he could follow Jesus wherever He went. Unlike the people of Gadara, he had no problem with any cost involved in serving the Master. He was more than willing to give up any and all uncleanness in his life. He wanted to be with the Savior...enjoy communion with Him...receive His instruction... and be under His care, influence, and protection. He desired to have Christ's gracious Presence with him so that he could become more and more acquainted with Him.
As sincere and pure as his request might have been, Jesus rejected it - only because He had a greater work for him to do among his acquaintances - "Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends, and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee, and hath had compassion on thee" (Mark 5:19).
In summary, the demons in the first example were wanting to get away from Jesus. The multitudes in the second example wanted Jesus to get away from them. And now, in this third example, we find the delivered man earnestly desiring to follow Jesus wherever He went.
All of this learning was conveyed through the prayers of those involved in this story.
Just what kind of instruction are your prayers giving to others?
May God Bless His Word.