Perhaps you are thinking of a passage in Matthew chapter 17 in asking this question. Let’s read verses 14-21: “And when they had come to the multitude a man came to Him (Jesus), kneeling down to Him and saying, ‘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.’ Then Jesus answered and said, ‘O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I bear with you? Bring him here to Me.’ And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him; and the child was cured from that very hours. Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So Jesus said to them, ‘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’” (NKJV).

What is this portion teaching us? Is it indeed teaching us that we can heal someone through “prayer and fasting?” No, for there is more to it than that. The Lord had rebuked them for a LACK OF FAITH and went on to say that if they have faith, even a little faith (like a little mustard see), they could accomplish big things. The Lord went on to emphasize that along with faith, there must be humble dependence on the Lord (Who alone can heal the sick!) which is manifested by “prayer and fasting.” In prayer one is acknowledging their complete dependence on God and in fasting one is denying fleshly desires so as to be fully occupied with Christ and His ability to heal. It also demonstrates that you are more concerned for the blessing of others than you are for satisfying your own physical need for food. God will honor the humble servant who looks alone to Him to heal and may then act in power for the healing of the sick.

This principle, of having COMPLETE FAITH IN GOD to work in souls, whether for one’s salvation, spiritual growth, or physical healing, is a must. And it must be accompanied by COMPLETE DEPENDENCE ON GOD, which will be manifesting by prayer and fasting. Prayer is the most vital of the two, but fasting is added to show, as we noted earlier, that we are willing to deny ourselves in order to see others blessed by God’s amazing grace and power!

It should be mentioned that in those days healing was more prevalent than it is today, for Christ was using it as a SIGN to confirm the Word that He was bringing to the nation of Israel. He also gave His apostles the power to heal in the early church period for the same reason. This is confirmed in Mark 16:17-18, 20 where Jesus said, “And these SIGNS shall follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons…they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover…And they went out preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and CONFIRMING THE WORD THROUGH THE ACCOMPANYING SIGNS.” Once the Word was established these signs became less and less, as we see in the latter half of the book of Acts.

Having said that, “prayer and fasting” is still needed today as it was then, for God still expects us to demonstrate our faith and dependence on Him in this way. And even though He may not heal like He did when Jesus and the Apostles walked the earth, He still wants to use His servants as they seek to be a blessing to others. As we “pray and fast” He will use us for His glory, and He will work in souls for their salvation and spiritual growth. A beautiful example of this is seen in Acts 13:1 where godly men were seeking God’s guidance in service. In verses 2-3 we read, “As they ministered to the Lord and FASTED, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then, having FASTED AND PRAYED…they sent them away.” This was the beginning of Saul and Barnabas’s second missionary journey where they canvassed much of the Roman Empire resulting in thousands of souls being saved and established in their faith. And it all began with humble dependence on the Lord…in PRAYER AND FASTING.  (395.5)  (DO)