Beyond the Weekend

July 21 | Failure

July 21, 2023


After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.” Mark 9:28-29

Read: Mark 9:28-29
Listen: Mark 9


After healing the demon-possessed boy with a simple command, Jesus’s disciples are curious. They ask, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” (Mark 9:28). Their question is reasonable. Maybe they used a similar command as Jesus, yet the demon continued terrorizing the boy. Jesus’s answer tells us the disciples’ error was attempting to heal the boy in their own strength. The disciples tried to heal the boy in their own power and abilities rather than turning to God in prayer.

We sometimes get too confident in our own abilities too. We forget Jesus’s rather shocking but straightforward promise, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). When we actively depend on Jesus, we can do much good. Apart from him, we can do nothing. This was true for the disciples two thousand years ago and is valid today. We all—rich or poor, healthy or ill, widespread or ignored —need Jesus and experience true life when we radically depend on him.


Journal about where you might be getting too comfortable or self-reliant. Look at your key relationships and responsibilities and consider if you have prayed for each realm of life. A lack of prayer often implies a lack of dependence and trust in God. Talk to God about this and ask for his help to live a more faithful life of prayer and devotion.


Join us all of 2023 developing a different spiritual practice each month. SPIRITUAL PRACTICES are intentional regular activities to deepen our relationship with God and mold us to be more like Jesus.

July is SOLITUDE. Keep track of our spiritual practices at

Download a printable PDF of the BTW week here.

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