Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, "Why could we not drive it out?" And He said to them, "Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. [ But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting."] (Matthew 17:19-21 NASB)
This is a heartbreaking passage. A boy had a demon that caused him to have convulsions. Sometimes it caused him to fall into the fire, sometimes into the water. His life was in jeopardy and he would almost certainly die without help. His father knew that Jesus was the only help for his son, but Jesus was on the mount of transfiguration. The father took the only option that appeared to be available to him. He took his much loved son to the disciples.
The disciples had been given both power and authority over demons. They should have been able to heal the boy, but they could not. After Jesus did what they were powerless to do, casting the demon out and healing the boy, they went to Him and asked why they could not drive out the demon. "What happened to our power?" they were saying. Jesus was very clear. First, their faith was too little.
The second reason they couldn't heal the boy was something they had failed to do, and it would likely have made the difference. Unfortunately, it is a failure that we often share, and is one of the reasons we see so little of the miraculous in the churches of this country. Prayer and fasting. Jesus was clear about this. Some things will not be healed, some victories will not be achieved, except through prayer and fasting.
In our affluent society, denying ourselves is not a popular concept, but it is not optional if we expect to have the power Christ intended. Is there something about which you are desperate for the intervention of God? Pray and fast until you answer comes.
Sometimes the fast that is required is a complete abstinence from all food for days at a time. Sometimes, the fast that is needed is an abstinence from a pleasure, an activity, or a food group (sweets, meat, etc). Some fasts last for a period of days or weeks, some fasts are prolonged for years. An example might be a weekly fast (of one meal or an entire day's meals) that lasts until the answer to you prayer, the intervention of God that is needed, finally arrives.
Is there a situation about which you are powerless? Is there a need that is unmet? Perhaps what is needed is prayer and fasting. Someone has said fasting lets God know you are serious about your prayers. In fact, He knows your heart before you fast. He knows how serious you are. Perhaps what fasting does is not so much letting God know we are serious as it is letting us know we are serious. Regardless, Jesus was clear. Fasting makes a difference that nothing else can do.
Do you lack power? Pray and fast. Do you lack victory? Pray and fast. Do you need an answer to your prayers? Pray and fast, but don't stop until God's answer comes.
Link to last night's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/11/the-first-night-at-cri.html