Matthew 17:19-21 “Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Jesus tells us much of the type of faith we are to have. Here, He is instructing the disciples the power of faith, one as small as a mustard seed can move mountains. Yet, for the urgency of the situation they faced, demonic possession, they could not cast out the demon out of the man’s son.
The demon that possessed this man’s son was trying to kill the boy by telling him to cast himself into the fire or the water. Jesus further teaches the disciples and us that there is a type of prayer needed in such dire situations.
“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Today, we are facing dire situations. Churches are closing because they cannot pay their bills. Without an attending and giving congregation, they are facing financial ruin. Many church members have either lost jobs or are making less. The salary for the pastor given to sustain him is drying up.
If the stay at home orders continue, many more will follow.
Those who study eschatology or the study of the last days will tell us that we are indeed in the biblical end times. When Israel became a nation on May 14th, 1948, the final prophecy was fulfilled that was preventing Christ’s second coming.
Much that has been prophesied is happening today.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
That is quite a list.
The disciples were intrigued by what Jesus was telling them. They pressed Him for details.
Matthew 24:3 “And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?”
Jesus gave them signs for them (and for us) for which to look.
Matthew 24:6-7 “And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places.”
These truths set the stage for the revelation God gave me this morning.
Today, the clarion call goes out to the church to pray like never before. Not with our laundry list of needs, we pray almost mindlessly. No, this ‘kind’ can only come by prayer that is from the heart, coupled with fasting.
Denying the body nutrients causes certain things to trigger a chain of events that affect our physiology. But looking at fasting biblically, we need to understand its purpose.
By replacing mealtime with prayer, we go to our prayer closet to go to God. It is there we take the time to pour out our hearts that for which we want answers. A cure for the virus? Of course. People to be protected? Always. I believe there is an even more dire need for which every child of God needs to pray.
“Father, awaken the church from its slumber. Call us to prayer, fasting, and service like never before. Help us to find ways to go beyond the limits our governments have placed on us to reach all those in need. In sacrificing our daily food, may we present our bodies a living sacrifice to be used as You see fit.”
We need to seize this opportunity to reach more for Christ. We need to pray for the power to overcome the oppression, depression, and suppression we feel. We need to find ways to ‘touch’ those who are alone, in need, and languishing during this time.
Many give in to the spirit of laziness, idleness, and apathy. It is high time for those of us who name the name of Jesus Christ to awaken and pray.
Commit to setting aside time this week to fast and pray. It may be just for one meal. It may be for a day or more. Whatever you choose, commit to it and then see what God can do!