“And when He had come into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’ So He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’ ” Mark 9:28-29
Jesus on two different occasions had sent out his disciples, preaching, teaching, and healing. Part of the work he’d empowered them to do was the casting out of demons. And then came the day when they were unable to prevail over a demon possessing a young man.
In humiliation and dismay they came to Jesus when no one else was around and asked him, “Why couldn’t we cast out this demon?”
“This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting,” Jesus answered.
Satan doesn’t like giving up the victims and territory he’s taken control of.
I live in a part world where Satan has worked for decades hiding behind the lie that he doesn’t exist. Quietly, subtly he has exerted his influence, developed his power and expanded territory all while making sure that people think that they’re the ones in control. The devil wants people thinking that they’re the ones solely responsible for doing the works their hands have performed. He wants people to be completely oblivious to the reality that they’re deeply influenced, and at times outright controlled, by demonic forces.
And people wonder why they can’t make any headway when it comes to self improvement. They want to take control of their health but are helpless when faced with issues of overeating, substance abuse, alcoholic consumption, tobacco, etc. When they attempt to make positive changes in their lives they find that something always causes them to fail. Television or video games sabotage their intentions to get proper sleep. Soda or juice beverages take the place of the healthier choice of pure water. Junk food replaces unprocessed fruits and vegetables. And while we see these choices and more clearly, any resolutions we make to adopt healthy changes seem to be made out of ropes of sand and they come to nothing.
And we ask, “Why can’t we have victory?”
The answer is we’re fighting a devil we haven’t recognized and victory can only be achieved by tapping into the power of God through fasting and prayer. And many times we need the prayers of others working on our behalf. We must seek God’s strength for ourselves and each other.