When the disciples had difficulty replicating the miracles that Jesus was doing while on assignment, the father of an epileptic son had to go to Jesus for healing. The disciples asked Jesus about this. They were already doing many wondrous miracles, but they couldn’t heal this epileptic boy. Jesus said, “This kind does not go out except through prayer and fasting.” Matthew 17:21. Some translations delete this verse altogether, using textual criticism. I’m grateful for the translations that leave it in. It offers a deeper level to try in the face of unanswered prayer. Having seen the positive results in action, I can say that fasting works.
Most people live their whole lives without fasting. People usually learn about fasting through lent by having to give something up, without being sure what possible benefit it offers. Does ice cream really taste better after 40 days of not having it?
The kind of fasting I’m talking about is a pressing in on a prayer request. My life has been plagued with deep unsolvable issues. I had a manic depressive mother who wouldn’t cooperate with doctors or medications. Her “illness” made life challenging. Lots of nice people offered nice prayers. Nothing made a difference. So I decided to press in with prayer and fasting. I added fasting regularly for change in my mother’s condition.
After no food, and only liquids for 24 hours, it felt dramatic the first time. I can’t say I noticed a change right away. I had prayed for her on other occasions and noticed changes immediately – usually under dire medical circumstances.
Over time, the changes became more evident. The first thing I noticed was that my quiet times were amazing the morning after I fasted. I felt so close to God and there was always a special nugget that jumped off the page into my heart. This alone became worth the effort each month.