Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
VICTORY THROUGH FASTING AND PRAYERMatthew 17: 14 – 21
The passage that we have for our meditation this morning is a very painful experience for everyone involved. The boy is suffering physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. The father is desperate to find healing for his son and trying all his means and should have been exhausted. The disciples of Jesus who were first dealing with this boy could not bring any change in his condition and it would have been disheartening for them and they too receive a rebuke from the Lord. For Jesus to see this boy suffering, his father in a desperate condition and his disciples not able to help was discouraging. However, his intervention brings healing to the boy.
Some of the translations have omitted v.21 but we find it in NKJV “However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.” Prayer and fasting are very strong “faith tools” that we see in the life and ministry of Jesus. At the beginning of his ministry, we see in Matt 3 how Jesus spends forty days and nights in fasting and prayer communing with the Father to prepare him for the public ministry ahead. Even during his public ministry, it is recorded in different occasions where he spends time in prayer alone in the wilderness and also with some of his disciples.
Eric Roberts quoted “Devotion to prayer springs from dependence on God’s power, desperation for God’s grace, and dedication to God’s mission”. Prayer is not just a religious thing to be done for a Christian but it is more of a relational experience where we also actively respond and depend more on God’s grace.
Fasting and prayer is an affirmation that we are fragile and we need God’s strength and guidance. It is also an expression of:
Our dependence upon God and God alone
Our desire to sacrifice our bodily pleasures and needs
Our desire to identify with the afflicted who needs our prayers
Our desire to fight against the evil powers by affirming God’s sovereignty
Fasting when combined with our prayer displays the earnestness that we have for our prayer before God and which can result in answers to our prayer. The reason is often we pray dispassionately, almost asking God to do things which we least care about. When we define prayer as a relationship, fasting is a lifestyle that God requires of us, which is total submission and surrender to his will.
Dear Lord, nothing has worked to set me free from the compulsive way I turn to other things when I could be turning to You. I need more of You and less of the stuff that leaves me hungry. Take all these heavy idols I’m laying down and teach me to lean into Your gentle refining. Take my life as I empty it out and fill me with Yourself. In Jesus' name. Amen.
Thought for the Day
“He that would overcome the devil in certain instances must first overcome heaven by prayer, and conquer himself by self-denial.” C. H. Spurgeon
Rev. Thomas K. Mathew Youth Chaplain - Philadelphia