Matthew tells the story of a father who had a demon-possessed son. For years he watched helplessly while his son suffered with severe convulsions.
As the boy grew older, the attacks became so severe that he would often throw himself into an open fire or a trench of water. A suicidal spirit tormented him constantly, and his situation became life-threatening.
Having exhausted every attempt to cure the boy-even taking him to the disciples with no avail-the father almost gave up. Then he heard that Jesus was near.
Going to the Master, he cried, "‘Lord, have mercy on my son, for he is an epileptic and suffers severely; for he often falls into the fire and often into the water. So I brought him to Your disciples, but they could not cure him'" (Matt. 17:15-16).
When the boy was brought to Jesus, He "rebuked the demon; and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hour" (v. 18).
But what made the difference? After all, Matthew 10:1 records that Jesus had already given the disciples power to cast out evil spirits and to heal every disease. So why couldn't the disciples cast out the demon and cure the boy?
That's what they wanted to know, too, so later that night, when they were alone with Jesus, they asked Him. Jesus replied, "‘Because of your unbelief; for assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you. However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting'" (Matt. 17:20-21).
Each time I've read that passage, I've focused on the statement "and nothing will be impossible for you." I think a lot of people stop right there, but Jesus didn't because He knew there was more—much more.
See, that one little word "however" is the connection-it's the key that unlocks the power in the statement "nothing will be impossible for you." Jesus told the disciples they needed faith, even faith as small as a tiny seed.
But that wasn't all. Long before this incident, the Holy Spirit led Jesus into the wilderness, where He spent 40 days and 40 nights and ate nothing. "‘However, this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.'" For Jesus, casting out that stubborn demon wasn't impossible.
If Jesus could have accomplished all He came to do without fasting, then why did He fast? The Son of God knew there were supernatural things that could only be released through fasting. How much more should fasting be a common practice in our lives.
Fasting Is for Everyone
Perhaps you're thinking, I still don't know how fasting can really be for me. According to the words of Jesus, it is the duty of every disciple and every believer to fast.
When addressing the Pharisees regarding why His disciples did not fast, Jesus replied, "‘Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? ‘But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them; then they will fast in those days'" (Luke 5:34-35).
Then they will fast. Jesus didn't expect His disciples to do something He hadn't done as well. Jesus fasted, and according to the words of Peter, Jesus is our example in all things (see 1 Pet. 2:21).
The apostle Luke confirms this truth: "‘A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher'" (Luke 6:40).
There's another vital point that I want you to see in Matthew 6: God delights in giving rewards. Not only that, but He says that when giving, praying and fasting are practiced in your life, He will "reward you openly."
A good example of such open reward can be found in the book of Daniel. While in Babylonian captivity, Daniel's fasting-even partial fasting of certain foods-brought about the open reward of God, who blessed Daniel with wisdom beyond that of anyone else in the empire.
In Chapter 10 Daniel records that he was grieved and burdened with the revelation he had received for Israel. He ate no choice breads or meats and drank no wine for three weeks.
Then he describes the angel that was sent to him-which had been delayed by the prince of Persia for 21 days-with the answers Daniel sought. His fast broke the power of the delayer and released the angels of God so that God's purposes could be revealed and served.
This is just one example of how powerful fasting is. As part of the threefold cord, it can impact every area of your life.
Do you desire to know God's will for your life, whom you should marry or what you should do in a critical situation? Fasting can bring you to a place of being able to clearly hear God's will.
Fasting also causes God to target your children. In addition, it brings health and healing to your body, as well as financial prosperity and the blessings of God. You would be amazed at all the testimonies we have heard about fasting!
Whether you desire to be closer to God or are in need of great breakthroughs in your life, remember that nothing shall be impossible to you. Fasting is truly a secret source of power.
Jentezen Franklin is the pastor of Free Chapel in Gainesville, Ga., and Orange County, Calif. He also hosts a weekly TV program Kingdom Connection, and has written several books, including Fasting and Believe That You Can (both Charisma House).
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