The Last Prayer

By Elder Brad Lambeth

“Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. ”
(Matthew 17:15-21)

This father was desperate. There is no other way to put it! Desperate is the only word that fits the story. You would be too! When you read the words “oft” and “ofttimes,” rest assured… It was not the first time the desperate father sought help.

I have seen the same scenario many times myself. As a matter a fact I have lived similar chapters in my own life. Maybe you have too. Perhaps desperation is your middle name! Perchance all the repercussions were not so apparent when the nightmare started. At first (perhaps), you “sort of” expected the problem to go away like so many other inconveniences of life. You even tried to reason the problem away saying what happened was just a quirk of “fate.”

Then, since the problem remained and persisted (in spite of the fact that you “wished it away”), you turned to other “experts”: family, friends. Believe me, the father of the lunatic certainly tried everything suggested by friends (and even suggestions from his foes, why not…desperation is starting to set in!). “Keep the boy away from water… I am sure that the water reflection disorients him”… they all said. Ridiculous! How is the boy going to take a bath if plain water is the problem?!

Another step down into the pits of pain is when you turn to doctors and lawyers. They can often remedy small situations. But for the big desperate ones they can only offer “band-aid” help to cover a huge wound. Too little, too late!

The final step down, and one that must be avoided at all costs is when you step away from God into the voodoo world of alternative New-Age fixes. That is exactly what they are not. Rather, the final step away from God only brings forth profound unbelief… often without spiritual cure. Please don’t go there! Go to Jesus!

You see, when the father sought out Jesus, it obviously was not the first time he sought for help… but it was, for sure, the last time!

There must come a time in your life when burdened with the load of a hellish situation, you desperately cry out to God for the last time! Not the last time as in the phrase: “If you don’t answer me now I will never again pray to you.” Not the last time as if to say “God, you failed me!” To the contrary, the last prayer is always the prayer of faith.

The last prayer is the prayer that is prayed when you finally say: “I refuse to carry this load any longer!” The last prayer is prayed when all else fails and you have no alternative except to trust fully in Jesus Christ. The last prayer is prayed when you finally find that little grain of faith that has been waiting for you to call it forth to blossom!

The last prayer always allows Jesus to go to the source of your problem. The last prayer always treats the fountainhead of your desperation… not just the symptoms! You see, when you pray the last prayer… there are no strings attached!

Maybe that was the flaw of the prayer that the disciples prayed: maybe they prayed about the “results” (consequences) and did not focus on the true cause (demon possession). Meanwhile, the real issue was the devil working havoc inside that child! The last prayer allows God to address that issue… the real issue!

The last prayer allows God into the intimate recesses of your life, into the heartbeat of your problem. After all, at the final stage of desperation, it matters little about what needs to be done, “Just do it Jesus.” The last prayer says: “Just do it Jesus” with that primitive faith that gushes from the guts of desperation. Without anywhere else to go, faith goes to Jesus! Then when you have prayed the last prayer, step back and allow Jesus to work.

Now, a final word of spiritual advice: After the last “Amen” of your last prayer, start praising and thanking Him for what He has already started doing! That prevents another miracle blocker from springing into the negative sector of your heart. You see, symptoms often remain for awhile… even after the answer is already on the way. That can destroy the sensitive work of Faith. So, always focus the power of Jesus onto the source of the pain and ignore the aftermath symptoms that may still remain by praising and thanking God for what He is already doing! After all, they are only that: symptoms!

Say the last prayer. And let your last words be: Thank You, Jesus!

Article “The Last Prayer” excerpted from “Apostolic Standard”. Article written by Elder Brad Lambeth.

This article may not be written by an Apostolic author, but it contains many excellent principles and concepts that can be adapted to most churches. As the old saying goes, “Eat the meat. Throw away the bones.”