“Because you have so little faith,” replied Jesus. “I assure you that if you have as much faith as a grain of mustard-seed you can say to this hill, ‘Up you get and move over there!’ and it will move—you will find nothing is impossible. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:20-21, J.B. Phillips).
Many versions of the Bible do not include verse 21 in Matthew 17–“this kind does not go out except my prayer and fasting.”
Jesus has just been approached by a man whose son has been tormented by
a demon since he was a child. The other disciples have been unable to
help, and have they just asked Jesus why they were unable to rid the son
of his demon. Jesus answers that it is because of their little faith.
In that illusive verse 21, Jesus explains that faith—strong enough to
cast out the son’s demon—is discovered through prayer and fasting.
This verse is clear instruction how we can find a strong enough faith
to rid ourselves of the “personal demons” of worry, fear, lack of
confidence, lack of trust, and negativity! Prayer and fasting are the
two things which will make a difference!
Prayer isn’t just
telling God what I desire, but is about listening and understanding what
He desires. Prayer doesn’t change God, but me. When I enter into deep
personal communication with God, the Spirit of the Lord within me prays
to the Holy Spirit. I have surrendered control (Romans 8:26). My heart
prays and receives faith without the analytical perspective the mind
attempts to interject. My “personal demons” can’t invade this depth of
Fasting focuses my mind on God's faithfulness. "Man
doesn’t live on bread alone,” Jesus said, “but on every word that comes
from the mouth of God" (Matthew 4:4). Another time the disciples asked
Jesus to eat, and he said, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me
and to finish His purpose" (John 4:34). When I fast and seek God's
lasting spiritual nourishment instead of the temporary satisfaction of
my own, my mind is focused on Him. Supernatural peace is discovered at
the moment my mind surrenders control (Isaiah 26:3). The need for
assurance is exchanged for His peace (Philippians 4:6-8).
surrender control to God—whether in prayer or food—we receive more of
the Lord’s strength to handle life’s uncertainty. As we grow in these
disciplines, sensitivity to the Holy Spirit increases, revealing our own
inadequacy, and teaching us how to walk by faith and not by sight (2
Corinthians 5:7). I want a strong enough faith move any mountain! Do