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What the Bible says about Neglected Prayer and Fasting
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 17:17-21

This miracle teaches that it takes the power of faith to overcome the enemy (Matthew 17:20; Mark 9:19, 23-24). Why had the nine disciples failed? They had been careless in their personal spiritual walks and had neglected prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29). The authority that Jesus had given them was effective only if exercised by faith, but faith must be cultivated through spiritual discipline and devotion. The apostle Paul uses Abraham as an example of this:

No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God, fully satisfied and assured that God was able and mighty to keep His word and to do what He had promised. That is why his faith was credited to him as righteousness (right standing with God). (Romans 4:20-22, The Amplified Bible)

Half of the healings Christ performed happened due to the prayer of loved ones and friends. The father of the demon-possessed boy remains a monument of faith, timid yet true, through his love for his boy. His pleading, "Have compassion on us, and help us," was highly honored by Jesus.

The key to the exercise of such faith is not its quantity, but the God to whom it is directed; therefore, even the smallest faith—"like a mustard seed"—will see spectacular results (Luke 17:5-6; Matthew 17:20). Jesus says in Mark 9:23, "All things are possible to him who believes." Faith acts as an open door into a relationship with God and as a shield that protects God's people when they are under spiritual attack.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Young Boy (Part One)

Matthew 17:20-21

The disciples' question, "Why could we not cast it out?" suggests that they could not see any reason for their failure. Jesus replies emphatically, "Because of your unbelief. . . . [T]his kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting" (Matthew 17:20-21). Here He emphasizes the necessity and power of faith, as well as the need of intercession and self-denial. Their great lack of faith was not a lack of intellectual acceptance of all Christ stood for, but the lack of living faith in His divine omnipotence. He taught with excellence and performed many miracles, yet His teaching and miracle-working made little progress in the people's faith. Unbelief still dominated them (Romans 3:3-4).

However, Christ continued in patience to teach the people and to work mighty miracles for them. Thankfully, our Savior is patient in dealing with our sluggishness and dullness in learning God's truth and faithfully living His way of life.

Martin G. Collins
The Miracles of Jesus Christ: Exorcising a Young Boy (Part One)


 




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