Do you remember when Jesus healed the demon-possessed boy? After spending some time away, he re- joins the disciples only to find them struggling to cast out this demon. When the boy’s father sees Jesus, he’s frustrated – wouldn’t you be?
Here’s this posy with a reputation of healing and they’re not coming through in the slightest. Fortunately, Jesus takes the situation into his own hands, and he heals the boy.
The kid has been robbed of speech since birth, his father can’t believe it, but do you know who else can’t? The disciples…They can’t believe it because they couldn’t get the job done. In fact, they ask Jesus what was the difference, and he says to them in Mark 9:29, “This kind can only come by prayer.”
The difference was prayer, and I would say more specifically, the difference was dependence. The disciples had become boastful from past miracles and now they were relying on themselves and not God. I imagine Jesus’ comment disarmed them a little. It is possible they talked to God – acknowledged him. But prayer is re-ordering your heart with God; it’s actually relying on Him. And if that doesn’t happen, are you really praying?