Afterward the disciples asked Jesus privately, “Why couldn’t we cast out that demon?” “You don’t have enough faith,” Jesus told them. “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” (Matthew 17:19-20) *Some manuscripts add verse 21, But this kind of demon won’t leave except by prayer and fasting.
Let’s put these verses in context. After the Transfiguration, at the foot of the mountain a desperate father came and knelt before Jesus. He begged Jesus to heal his son. The father suspect that his son had demon possesses. He reported to Jesus that he had asked His disciple to pray for his little boy but they were unable to help. Stop and reflect for awhile.
Why? The man goes to the representatives of Jesus but was utterly disappointed. Isn’t that what seemed to happen today? The disciples are like many Christians today – powerless. As I’m writing this, I’m fully aware that 3 fingers pointing at me. We are powerless! The truth is prayerlessness leads to powerlessness.
Having the appearance of religious – going to Church every Sunday, sing songs of praise & worship, having fellowship every week, wearing a big bling bling cross necklace covered with gold and silver etc. Is it wrong? No! But all this without faith in the Living God is useless. Wake up people. Pray for faith. Live a life of prayer. Jesus answered his disciples by saying, “You don’t have enough faith.”
Andrew Murray writes ‘In the spiritual world failure has only one cause: Lack of Faith.’ He continued, ‘Christ Jesus is our life and the life of our faith.’ After Jesus healed the boy, He gives a promise: “I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.” Commentary explains that it is important to observe here that it is not the ‘amount’ of faith which brings the impossible within reach, but the power of God, which is available to even the ‘smallest’ faith. As I digest through the verses, I had a conclusion that his disciples had no faith at all. There was nothing smaller that a mustard seed. [Eugene H. Peterson paraphrases it as a ‘mere kernel of faith’.] Even that ‘amount’ is enough but His disciples had none. If our prayer is powerless, check our faith.
Prayer and Fasting
To have faith in the Lord, we must claimed it by prayer and with all possible – reinforced it by fasting. To be mature in the faith is only through prayer and fasting. In the beginning of Day 1 in this series, we had asked Jesus to teach us how to pray. So now, Lord, teach us to fast too. Prayer is reaching out for God and the unseen, while fasting is letting go of everything that can be seen and touch.
When I was joining the first National Service Training Programme 2003, I had a conversation with our camp commander who is a retired soldier for Tentera Darat Malaysia. He said that during war, soldier only carried what he need for the battle. Take only what is needed and free from unnecessary weight. This will enable soldier to combat easily. Just like fasting, “we are free from unnecessary weight so that we can easily capable to combating sin.” Thus, our prayer will be heard by God for sin will no more a hindrance for us.
Fasting is an important aspect of Christian spiritually. It usually involves abstaining from food (and possibly liquids) for a time to concentrate on prayer. When nothing holds you down, you can pray up to God. Faith in the Lord claimed by prayer and reinforced by fasting. That’s power! He promise that He will hear our prayer and ‘Nothing would be impossible’ if you have faith in Him.
Brothers and sisters keep praying and take time for fasting to let go of the unnecessary ‘weight’. Be a powerful Christian through prayer and fasting.