I encourage you to read Mark 9:17-28 to learn of the event of the Lord healing a man’s son of an evil spirit.  Mark 9:17-18 tells us, “And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.”  This man came to the Lord seeking the healing of his son, but only after the disciples had tried to cast him out, but could not do it.  Read this account to see how the Lord graciously and lovingly healed this young man.

Now let’s read Mark 9:28-29, “And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out? And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”  The Lord had just told the man with the sick son in Mark 9:23, “Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.”  It seems that the disciples were not able to heal this man’s son because they lacked the faith to do it.  Let’s consider three different verses in the book of Matthew where the Lord addressed His disciples:

  • Matthew 6:30, “Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O YE OF LITTLE FAITH?”
  • Matthew 8:26, “And he saith unto them, Why are ye fearful, O YE OF LITTLE FAITH? Then he arose, and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a great calm.”
  • Matthew 16:8, “Which when Jesus perceived, he said unto them, O YE OF LITTLE FAITH, why reason ye among yourselves, because ye have brought no bread?”

It would be normal to think that the disciples would be great in their faith.  After all, they lived with the Lord, they traveled with Him, they sat often at His feet and heard His Word, and they witnessed many of His miracles…yet the Lord often referred to them as having LITTLE FAITH.

The Lord answered His disciples in verse 29, “And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”  We can certainly understand the need of constant prayer to have the mind of God and walk in His power.  We as believers on the Lord Jesus Christ should often be on our knees before the Lord.  What about fasting?  The odd thing about this statement is that the Lord had stated that there was no need for the disciples to fast.  Matthew 9:14-15 says, “Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.”  It seems that the Lord here in Mark 9 is given His disciples words of preparation they would need after He was gone.  It was then that it would be proper for the disciples to fast.

So, what would it take for the disciples to be able to heal or cast out demons?  It would take faith, prayer, and fasting for them to do this.  Notice that the Lord Jesus did not comment on the faith of the one desiring to be healed as an obstacle to their being healed.  No, it was the lack of faith on the disciples’ part that prevented them from healing this young man.  This is so contrary to the ‘so-called’ faith healers today.  If they cannot heal a particular person, they blame in on the sick person’s fault for not having enough faith.  This is scripturally incorrect…the fault lies with them!

For more on fasting for us today, please click on this link: https://answersfromthebook.net/do-we-need-to-fast/  (202.4)