“But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
(Matthew 17:21 MRC)
The expression is usually “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” but given current emphasis across Europe and America for flu shots, the word dose comes to mind. In Matthew’s Gospel we are told of disciples who didn’t have the dose of prevention and left Y’shuaJesus having to apply a pound of cure. Y’shua cured a man’s son. When the disciples asked Y’shua why they couldn’t cast out the demon, Y’shua explained that they didn’t have the faith to do so.
Matthew Henry, in his commentary, wrote: “If ye have ever so little of this faith in sincerity, if ye truly rely upon the powers committed to you, ye shall say to this mountain, Remove. This is a proverbial expression, denoting that which follows, and no more, Nothing shall be impossible to you. They had a full commission, among other things, to cast out devils without exception; but, this devil being more than ordinarily malicious and inveterate, they distrusted the power they had received, and so failed. To convince them of this, Christ shows them what they might have done. Note, An active faith can remove mountains, not of itself, but in the virtue of a divine power engaged by a divine promise, both which faith fastens upon.”
After explaining the disciples’ lack of faith, He goes on to say the “this kind [of demon] does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” The implication here is this: The disciples must couple a trust in the power they had received with previous prayer and fasting. The disciples not only didn’t have the faith necessary to cast out the demon, they weren’t prepared to do so either.
Point One. Preparation is required for our readiness. This preparation is required for more than the casting out of demons, as Peter wrote: “. . . sanctify Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be prepared to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give a word for the hope that is in you, but with gentleness and fear for God.” (1 Peter 3:15 MRC) We are to be prepared to make a defense.
When I think of being prepared, I think of Stephen: “Then some from what is called the Freedmen’s Synagogue, composed of both Cyrenians and Alexandrians, and some from Cilicia and Asia, came forward and disputed with Stephen.” (Acts 6:9 HCSB). Before Stephen died, he witnessed to those who stoned him. Stephen was prepared for any and all events.
Point Two. Prayer is a key component of preparation. Prayer is, in a general sense, the act of asking for a favor, and particularly with earnestness. In worship, prayer is a solemn address to G-d, consisting of adoration, or an expression of our sense of G-d’s glorious perfections, confession of our sins, supplication for mercy and forgiveness, intercession for blessings on others, and thanksgiving, or an expression of gratitude to God for his mercies and benefits.
But I like a more simple definition. It is being with G-d, through our acceptance of Messiah Y’shua, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. It is being like Adam, and walking with G-d in the Garden.
Point Three. Fasting is another key component of preparation. How shall we fast? The Lord tells us through the prophet Isaiah: “Isn’t the fast I choose: To break the chains of wickedness, to untie the ropes of the yoke, to set the oppressed free, and to tear off every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, to bring the poor and homeless into your house, to clothe the naked when you see him, and to not ignore your own flesh and blood? Then your light will appear like the dawn, and your recovery will come quickly. Your righteousness will go before you, and the LORD’s glory will be your rear guard.” (Isaiah 58:6-8 HCSB)
Simply put, fasting is denying our fleshly nature, our self-centered approach to life, and obeying the Holy Spirit.
May the Lord enable us to meet the requirements of each day, having mercy upon us.
Lord Bless, Keep, Shine. . .