Prayer and Fasting


Matthew 17:14-21
14 When they came to the crowd, a man came up to Jesus, falling on his knees before Him and saying, 15 “Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is a lunatic and is very ill; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. 16 “I brought him to Your disciples, and they could not cure him.” 17 And Jesus answered and said, “You unbelieving and perverted generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring him here to Me.” 18 And Jesus rebuked him, and the demon came out of him, and the boy was cured at once. 19 Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it out?” 20 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. 21 [“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”]

Some translations of the bible say this boy was demonized because of Jesus casting out the demon that caused the boy to act this way.  The word “lunatic” actually refers to epilepsy (even though they didn’t call it that back then).  Apparently the phases of the moon would incite violent seizures and the people came to know the affliction as lunacy (lunar=moon).

Why did Jesus speak so harshly against His disciples?  Their lack of faith and connection to God is what prevented them from healing the boy.  We can see here that our faith and trust in God are what enable us to heal others and cast out demons.  Some think it is just a special anointing by God (which is part of the equation) but it also involves our level of faith.  In verse 21 we read that prayer and fasting are required to cast out this kind of demon.  But we see that Jesus didn’t go to pray and fast for a time before coming back to heal the boy.  What Jesus is talking about here is a regular lifestyle of prayer and fasting to God the Father is what is required.  This is why the disciples lacked the necessary faith!  Jesus often went away to pray on His own and be with the Father, but how often did they?  We know that in the garden of Gethsemane Jesus went to pray and they fell asleep!

So then, in order for us to grow in faith and develop our relationship with God, we must develop a lifestyle of prayer and fasting.  We must dedicate regular time to be in communion with the Father.  I have yet to hear someone claim that their relationship with God is solid or that their prayer life is where it needs to be.  Everyone I have had this conversation with admits that they need to pray more and spend more time with God in their daily schedule.  We need to be in constant contact with the Father if we want to walk in His Kingdom.  How can you grow closer to God today?

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