Prayer and Fasting

“However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21).

There is a story in Matthew 17, where a man brought his son to Jesus’s disciples for healing. Jesus had travelled with Peter, James and John to a mountain for his transfiguration. Upon his return, the man met him at the foot of the mountain. “Lord, have mercy on my son. He has seizures and suffers terribly. He often falls into the fire or into the water” (Matthew 17:15). The man’s complaint was that he took his son to the disciples, but they could not heal him. Jesus was annoyed and called them faithless and corrupt. His question was; How long must I be with you and put up with you?

Jesus rebuked the demon and the boy was well from then onward. The disciples were perplexed about what happened. “Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not cast it out”” (Matthew 17:19)? Jesus’s response was that they had unbelief. He said that they needed faith, as small as a mustard seed and this could remove even a mountain. His further response was that the situation that they encountered, required fasting and prayer to see results.

I learnt a few things from the story above. Disciples are expected to model their leader and should be able to do similar works. “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father” (John 14:12). This scripture states clearly that we have been equipped to do the things that Jesus did and even greater things. These works include; praying for the sick to be healed, restoration of sight to the blind and commanding evil spirits to depart from them who are bound.

Many false teachings have crept into the church, which suggests that it is our spiritual bodies that will receive healing. God is not the author of confusion and the bible does not contradict itself. We can have whatever we say, if we have the faith to believe. Jesus was angry with his disciples because they lacked the faith for healing. He demonstrated miracles for them to follow his example. Jesus’s entire life on this earth, was to set an example for us to follow. We need to desire the gifts of the spirit, stay in faith and manifest the works of God. Fasting and prayer are powerful tools to sharpen and strengthen our spiritual muscles.

“Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free, And that you break every yoke” (Isaiah 58:6)?

A.P.-Y.

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