“Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21
This text I believe, is one of the most misunderstood verses in the entire scriptures. Except a careful exegesis is done, it’s so easy to make the text say what it doesn’t.
Well for starters let’s consider the context within which Jesus made this statement.
Jesus had gone up what we call the Mount of Transfiguration with three of His disciples. On His descent from the mountain, He saw that His disciples were in a quagmire. They had tried casting a demon spirit out of a boy for whom his father sought respite.
On failing to do so, the scribes and a huge multitude had gathered together questioning them why they couldn’t cast the devil out.
Well, Jesus shows up and casts the devil out of the boy with remarkable ease. Obviously, his disciples wondered why they couldn’t so, and at a later time, they asked him why. I’m quite sure His answer wasn’t what they were expecting. Let’s read what Jesus said;
“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: … Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”
Truthfully I always wondered how they could be in unbelief! Wasn’t it because of their faith that they tried casting the devil out?
But Jesus stated categorically that they were in unbelief.
And then He said that this kind goeth not out except by prayer and fasting.
Please note that He wasn’t talking about the demon here. This is the big assumption a lot of people make. No where else in scripture is it remotely stated that you’d need to fast and pray to cast devils out. The believer doesn’t pray to cast devils out. We are told to cast them out! Simple!
Rather Jesus was referring to the unbelief.
Now let’s establish that, unbelief and doubt are very different. Doubt is to lack conviction in the integrity and reliability of the Word of God. This is cured by confessing and meditating in the Word.
Unbelief however is a limiting belief system or pattern. These are strongholds of imagination built systematically into our minds over the years. They are deeply embedded thought patterns which sabotage the Word of God in our lives.
For example, here in Nigeria where I live, some people genuinely believe that you can’t possess a certain level of wealth at a certain age and except you obtain it through shady means.
So they may be the most vocal when making confessions of prosperity but deep within they have set the boundaries of what can be manifested in their lives.
This was what Jesus was referring to in response to His disciples question.
Unbelief is so deeply rooted that merely confessing the Word will not suffice. This kind cannot be dealt with except by prayer and fasting.
One of the biggest blessings of prayer coupled with fasting is that it brings these belief systems to the fore. Your spirit becomes acutely aware of these thoughts that you hitherto were oblivious that they were lodged in your mind.
Spend time in the Word coupled with prayer and fasting and you’d see your faith become more productive.
Dear Heavenly Father, I thank you for your word which has come to me today. I rejoice at your Word, which prevails in and through me today. My Faith is active and it dispels doubts, unbelief and fear from my spirit. I refuse to worry, fret or give in to unbelief because the Word of God conditions my life and thinking. I consciously saturate my heart with the Word of God everyday. Thank you Dear Heavenly Father, in Jesus’ Mighty Name, Amen.
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