Mark 9:28-29- And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” NKJV
Some things in life just go together, like peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, hamburger and fries. Occasionally each of these ingredients will be placed with other ingredients, but when you go back to the basics, these are some of the dynamic duos of food. There is another dynamic duo that is the subject for this post, fasting and praying, and when coupled together, the power unleashed is unstoppable.
Jesus’ disciples were faced with an obstacle that they could not overcome. As a matter of fact, it put them in an embarrassing situation. Jesus had left most of His followers behind as He went to the mount with Peter, James, and John to pray. While there, He was transfigured and Moses and Elijah met with Him. While He and the disciples were on the mountaintop having a glorious experience, the other disciples met a situation they were ill-prepared to handle.
A father had come looking for Jesus to set his son free from an unclean spirit that had been terrorizing his son for years. When he couldn’t find Jesus, he asked the disciples to help his son, and they could not. I can imagine their deliverance service looked a lot like some of ours look. We expend a lot of energy with very little results. Jesus comes upon the scene, finds out what is happening, and sets the young man free. When the disciples are alone with Jesus they ask Him:
“Why could we not cast it out?” So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”Mark 9:28-29 NKJV
Jesus told the disciples that there are some things that only move after a time of fasting and prayer. Most of us want to be able to exercise authority over principalities when we are only willing to fast from candy and pray the Lord’s prayer. That might get you something, but it won’t get you the power unleashed when you begin to really turn down the plate for some serious fasting, and carve out time in your day to meet with God.
This demon was no imp. He had been manifesting in this boy’s life for most of his existence and he wasn’t leaving without a fight. But Jesus was more than equipped to handle the situation, and if we are going to take on the tough situations of life, we are going to have to fast and pray.
I clearly remember a time when someone was praying about her marriage. God instructed me to fast for three days. I automatically knew that I would be praying. I informed her of what the Lord had spoken to me. She immediately decided that she would be fasting and praying also. God had given me a specific timeframe when her husband would return home to her after years of separation (and then He told me to fast). Sure enough, after those three days of fasting and praying, things went downhill. But I stood on what God had told me. As sure as He is King, He turned that situation around, when He said that He would, and they are still married to this day! Glory be to God!
During times of prolonged illnesses of a loved one is an excellent time to fast and pray. David wrote:
But as for me, when they were sick, my clothing was sackcloth (mourning garment); I humbled my soul with fasting, and I prayed with my head bowed on my chest.Psalm 35:13 AMP
This doesn’t mean that every single time I have fasted and prayed for someone who was sick that they had a miraculous recovery. I would be lying if I said it or led you to believe it. But when I finish fasting and praying, I know that I have prayed and done all that I knew to do. The opportunity for healing was certainly not hindered because I chose to do nothing, so peace reigns in my heart.
Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher…and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.Luke 2:36-38 NKJV
Anna spent her life fasting and praying to the Lord. During one of her times with the Lord, He spoke to her and told her that she would see the Messiah before she left the earth. One day, as she was going about her daily tasks, she walked into the room where she saw the Messiah, Jesus, who would redeem Israel from their sins. What a blessed day that was for her! For mankind!
It is my personal belief that a lot of what we experience today can be stopped with fasting and praying. Not one person fasting and praying, although it has to begin with someone, nations fasting and praying to see God standing in the midst of our situations and circumstances!
It’s true that if you are just fasting, and not praying that you haven’t connected to the power unleashed by the dynamic duo, but don’t underestimate the power of doing one or the other. They both work alone, but together, they are more powerful. Jesus said so in our text that some things require that we both fast and pray.
Cornelius wasn’t even saved when he tapped into the power of fasting and praying!
So Cornelius said, “Four days ago I was fasting until this hour; and at the ninth hour I prayed in my house, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing, and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard, and your alms are remembered in the sight of God. Send therefore to Joppa and call Simon here, whose surname is Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea. When he comes, he will speak to you.’ So I sent to you immediately, and you have done well to come. Now therefore, we are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded you by God.”Acts 10:30-33 NKJV
Cornelius had a hunger in his heart. He wasn’t a believer, as a matter of fact, he wasn’t even a Jew. But his heart cried out to the Lord. And as he hungered for God he felt to fast and pray. During that time, God sent an angel to him with specific directions of where to find Peter so that Peter could share the gospel with him. Cornelius obeyed the angel, gathered his family, and waited for Peter’s arrival. He and his entire household received salvation!
Some of our friends and family members are stubborn. They are bent on having their way. But when prayer isn’t working, it may be time to unleash the power of the dynamic duo. It may be time to fast and pray! How long should you fast and pray? How serious is your need?
There are some demonic attacks that won’t let go just because you prayed and exercised your faith. There will be times, when what you are facing is greater than what you are prepared for. But that’s okay because with fasting and praying you can get prepared. And if you lead a fasted life, you can be in a ready position, staying ahead of the devil!
Every believer needs to understand fasting and praying is not just a spiritual discipline, it is access to the power of God for breakthrough in our lives. Determine today that you will be opened to spend time fasting and praying about the situations in your life, and the lives of others, that seem to be too stubborn to move! Make it your mission to fight back with the weapons that God has given us, then stand on whatever He speaks to your heart, or obey whatever He directs you to. Wonderful Jesus!