Is fasting still necessary?
Today our church is entering week 3 of our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting. While discussing this idea of fasting in Small Group this morning, a question was asked, "Why couldn't the disciples cast out the demon in the boy in Mark 9?" We understand Jesus answered this question by saying, "This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:29, KJV)
Three chapters earlier Jesus sent the disciples out with power over unclean spirits. The Scripture records "and they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them." (Mark 6:13, KJV) What was the difference today? The difference was Jesus was with them. This is not a reference to His physical presence but instead the fact that they went because He sent them. They knew He was going to be with them and they would not fail. In Mark 9 Jesus was not with them and during the time He was away from them, they were not focused on the things of God. Funny thing is the reason Jesus was not with them was because He was reconnecting with His Father. And most of the time if He was away from them He was solidifying His connection with His Father by talking to Him and listening for direction. By not prioritizing the things of God and staying plugged in to the presence of God, they lost their connection.
This is what happens to so many of us. We feel the presence of God on Sunday and we leave church on fire. We drive home and instead of meditating on the message, we involve ourselves in mess. Not to mention Monday thru Saturday we focus our attention on everything but God and then when we are faced with a test, trial, or temptation we succumb under the pressure. Why? No connection.
Think of it this way. The cell phones we all carry are of no use to us if there is no connection. It doesn't even matter if the bill is paid, if there is no tower to receive a signal from. You're dialing and no ringing. I see you saying, "Hello, is anyone there." But no matter what you try, no bars. See, it doesn't matter what you are trying the road that you on is full of dead spots.
It is the very same thing in your Christian journey. You're praying and nothing is happening. You become frustrated. You pray again. Nothing. You don't realize that you need to stop and plug into the power. Plug into the power that only comes through dedicated, determined, and diligent prayer. And in desperate situations, prayer must be coupled with fasting. Fasting to clear out all the clutter. Fasting to tap into the power of an Almighty, All-Powerful God.