Mark 9:28-29: Restoring the power 3: Fasting.
“28 After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, ‘Why couldn’t we drive it out?’ 29 He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.” ” NIV
In this passage, Jesus places into our hands certain ‘keys’ to becoming a powerFULL church. They are faith, prayer, and today we consider fasting.
‘’This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.’’ So say some manuscripts.
Jesus certainly expected that His disciples would fast (Matthew 6:16-18). The ‘flesh’ (sinful nature), and even the body itself may protest against fasting. It may kick and scream, and threaten a tantrum when it doesn’t get all the food and drink it desires. But those who fast before God, as Jesus taught, will testify to its power:
‘In some situations it is necessary to fast in order to receive our request from God. Many Christians have experienced greater results from prayer – more power, more blessing, more guidance – when they have fasted. To fast does not mean to merely go without eating for a period. Fasting is a demonstration of our desire to control our bodily appetites and put aside all worldly thoughts and desires in order to gain some spiritual benefit. Fasting is a sign of our readiness to offer ourselves fully to God so that His will might be accomplished. It is a sign that we are willing to give up even legitimate things such as food in order to better concentrate on serving Him. When, by fasting, we show God that we are serious about offering ourselves to Him, then He will respond to our prayers by giving us a greater measure of power and wisdom and spiritual blessing.’ Tom Hale: ‘The Applied New Testament Commentary’, pp.248/249.
The best way to prove the power of fasting is to do it! In the West, with our self-indulgent tendencies, our love of ease, we may prefer to give it a miss. But there are certain battles which will never be won while we ignore prayerful fasting. I can’t explain how this works. The Bible doesn’t offer an explanation. But those who engage in the discipline prove its efficacy. It is both difficult and richly rewarding.
PRAYER: Lord, please give me the self-control to press into everything you have for me.