After the mountaintop experience of the transfiguration, Jesus came down the mountain and was immediately met by a man who was in trouble (see Matthew 17:1-21).

I often have to gently let new believers know that they may be feeling on top of the world, only to get home and be assailed by unwanted thoughts or doubts about their salvation. Many times when we have enjoyed a tremendous spiritual victory, Satan is just around the corner. You go on a wonderful Christian retreat and experience the movement of the Holy Spirit, only to come home to a problem or a disaster.

Jesus came down the mountain and was met not only by a troubled father but by the demons of hell. Jesus responded, “O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him to me” (Mark 9:19, NKJV).When you first read this verse, you assume Jesus is talking to the father. However, he could be addressing the disciples or the religious leaders who were in the crowd as well. They had all failed to help the father and his son.

There’s a type of religion in the world that has no bearing on what God is able to do. It can talk about God, just as the disciples at the bottom of the mountain could do; but without faith and the power of God, it cannot make a difference in somebody’s life. The sad reality is that you can have religion and mountaintop experiences, but if you don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ, it will get you nowhere! You’ll come to the bottom of the mountain, and an attack will knock your feet out from under you.

When we know Jesus personally, we will find that prayer is our lifeline; it’s our method of communication and our vehicle to hear from God as well. If we ignore prayer, we will find our relationship with Christ subpar, a weakened and listless faith that does not bear fruit or transform the world around us. Prayer, combined with the Word of God, is what draws us close to the Lord and builds our faith. This is how James could later write, “Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16).