- Have you ever felt like your prayers are fruitless and not heard?
- Have you ever prayed to God to set you free from a bad habit and you continue experiencing defeat?
- Have you ever prayed that the Lord will open the blind eyes of your loved ones that continue away from the Lord and you feel frustrated because they do not change their stubborn ways?
- Have you ever prayed about a breakthrough in your life and loose hope because the miracle didn’t happen?
In three different Gospels (Matthew 17, Mark 9 and Luke 9) the Scripture points out an incident in which a father was very troubled because a demonic spirit was oppressing his son. The boy, probably a young teenager was deaf and mute, and also was having recurrent seizures. The demon exercised such stronghold in this boy’s life that he would cause the boy to commit suicide several times by causing self-injuries, or by throwing himself into the fire or into the water.
The troubled father hears about Jesus’ ministry and power to heal all kinds of diseases and brings his son to the Lord’s disciples. Jesus was not around, but the disciples prayed for the boy. Nothing happened. Questions came! The disciples were frustrated, the father was hopeless, and the boy continued suffering.
Then Jesus came to take matters in this situation. When sensing the presence of Jesus, the demon throws the boy into a seizure and foam comes out of the child’s mouth. Then, Jesus rebuked the demonic spirit with great authority by saying, “spirit of deafness and muteness, I command you to come out of this child and never enter him again.” The boy was immediately healed.
After the crowd was dismissed, the puzzled disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Why did our prayer didn’t work? We have done several successful prayers before when demons left? What happened this time?” Jesus answered,
“…this kind (of demonic oppression) does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
There was a demonic being causing hurt in someone’s life and Jesus did not stood there relying in well intended but casual prayers. Jesus knows that there’s nothing impossible to God. Remember that while on earth, Jesus did not use His divine powers. All his miracles were a demonstration of the kind of the extraordinary things that ordinary people can do when they become men and women of the Kingdom of Heaven. In this incident, Jesus acted fully human—just like you and me. But Jesus trusted in the spiritual authority that the key of prayer combined with fasting entitles us to deliver those oppressed by the enemy and to set free those who are captive in the devil’s web.
Jesus practiced fasting and instructed his disciples to fast.
"But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day."
In the book of Acts the church practiced fasting in key moments. Paul writes to the Corinthians and tells them that he fasts regularly. Fasting is a normal part of our relationship with God!