“But this kind of demon is cast out only through prayer and fasting.” (Matthew 17:21)
Some things just belong together. Macaroni and cheese, a hammer and nail, Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, a right uppercut and a left jab—they just go together.
In the spiritual realm, fasting and prayer go together. We see fasting and prayer used together repeatedly in the Scriptures:
- “So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer” (Ezra 8:23).
- “Jehoshaphat was terrified…and begged the Lord for guidance. He also ordered everyone in Judah to begin fasting” (2 Chronicles 20:3).
- “Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off” (Acts 13:3).
- “She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day (Luke 2:37).
When people really seek God, they pray AND they fast. We see it in the Old Testament and the New Testament. And we hear it from the mouth of Jesus.
Jesus affirmed the value of the one-two punch of fasting and prayer. In Matthew 17, we read about a desperate father who brought his son to Jesus. The son had seizures and often threw himself into the fire or into the river. Many commentaries on this story suggest the son had epilepsy and was also tormented by an evil, suicidal spirit.
The father brought the son to the disciples, but the disciples couldn’t cure him. The father then went straight to Jesus. He asked Jesus for compassion, healing, and deliverance, and Jesus took action: “Then Jesus rebuked the demon and it came out of him, and the boy was instantly healed!” (Matthew 17:18). In an instant, the boy was miraculously delivered from the demon and completely healed from the seizures. Incredible!
But why couldn’t the disciples cast out the demon? Why couldn’t they bring healing to the boy?
The disciples asked the same question of Jesus. Jesus said they needed faith, but faith wasn’t all they needed. Jesus also told the disciples that some spiritual battles are won only through prayer and fasting.
In boxing, a right uppercut, left hook combo is a winning combination that can defeat an opponent. When we’re facing fierce spiritual warfare, fasting and prayer is the winning combination we need to defeat our enemy. Fasting and prayer is a one-two punch that brings breakthrough and victory.
This isn’t a time to play Christian on Sunday and ignore God the rest of the week. There’s too much at stake. It’s time to fight for our marriages, our children, freedom from addictions, financial breakthrough, physical healing, and these battles are won through prayer and fasting.
Do you desperately need resolution to a seemingly impossible situation? Involve God in your situation with the one-two punch of fasting and prayer. When you face daunting battles, remember Jesus’s words to his disciples. He said with faith, fasting, and prayer, “nothing will be impossible for you.”
Dear God, you are gracious and compassionate. You are rich in love and kindness. I need you in my life today. I need your peace, deliverance, and breakthrough in my life and in my family. You are Lord over every situation. You are all powerful. Cover me with your presence. In Jesus’s name, amen.
Today’s Reading: Matthew 17:14-21
The FWC devotionals are moving to a five day per week format, Monday through Friday. Look for the next devotion on Monday, August 17. Have a great weekend!