And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose. And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
Ever since "The Exorcist first appeared in movie theaters there has been an interest in these sorts of stories. Yet there can be a somewhat stereotypical understanding about the workings of demons and how people should respond to their presence. In my Pentecostal years I was around people who would regularly cast demons out of people who were sick and hurting. It was as if we were oblivious to the spiritual dynamics present in each situation.
Interesting how Jesus commanded the demon to leave by naming it. Perhaps some demons only leave when they are called by name? Either way I think that the Lord calls us to be spiritually aware when he says that prayer is needed to drive out this kind of evil. As we pray God speaks to us gives us wisdom and discernment concerning such spiritual matters. It reminds me that prayer is so much more than petitioning God for our needs.
Lord, please open the eyes of my heart that I might discern things unseen.