28 And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” 29 So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.” — Mark 9:28, 29 NKJV
While Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration, a man had brought his son, who was possessed by a demon, to the remaining disciples. They had been unable to cast the demon out of this particular boy, even though they had had success earlier in casting other demons out. They were confused by this and asked the same question that people are still asking today. “Why could we not cast it out?” We pray for the sick to be healed and when it doesn’t happen the way and the time we think it should, we ask the question — “Why?” Jesus explains that sometimes it takes more than a prayer, it takes fasting as well. Some translations do not include “fasting” in the answer Jesus gave. We know that Jesus spent many hours fasting and praying. Before His temptations in the desert with satan, He spent forty days fasting and praying. God does the healing, so why would we be required to pray and fast? The Scriptures never exactly explain the connection between fasting and praying. The Old Testament prophets and David fasted and prayed. John the Baptist and his disciples practiced fasting and praying. The disciples of Jesus practiced it, especially in Jerusalem after the Resurrection. Jesus made a practice of doing it, so it seems that it would be a good idea for us to try it as well. Each of us should do some resarch on different ways to fast, pray and allow the Holy Spirit to guide each of us into what and how long to fast. You may not think fasting is a good idea or that you have never practiced fasting. Think about this, in the physical world, what did you give up for a little while to get what you wanted the most? In the worst scenario, nothing unusual happens, in the best scenario, we end up with a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus, our best friend.
23 So we fasted and earnestly prayed that our God would take care of us, and he heard our prayer. –Ezra 8:23 NLT