What Did Jesus Mean by “This Kind Can Come Out Only by Prayer and Fasting”?

Jesus healing

In Mark 9:29, Jesus is responding to a father who had brought his son to the disciples for healing, but they were unable to do so. The father pleaded with Jesus to help his son, who was possessed by an unclean spirit. Jesus then says, "This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting."

In this context, "this kind" likely refers to the unclean spirit that possessed the boy. The use of "kind" suggests that this particular type of possession is particularly stubborn and difficult to expel. Jesus is saying that in order to drive out this kind of unclean spirit, it will take a powerful spiritual effort on the part of those involved.

The mention of "prayer and fasting" is significant as it highlights the spiritual disciplines that are necessary for this type of exorcism. Prayer is a means of communicating with God and seeking His help and guidance. Fasting, on the other hand, is a means of denying oneself physical comforts and pleasures in order to focus on spiritual matters. Together, these practices demonstrate a level of devotion and commitment to God that is necessary for the successful expulsion of the unclean spirit.

In Matthew 17:20-21, Jesus also mentions that "This kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting." Here, it is clear that Jesus is emphasizing that this is the only way to overcome this particular type of evil. This implies that prayer and fasting are not only necessary but also powerful tools in the fight against spiritual darkness.

In addition, in Matthew 6:16-18 Jesus talks about fasting, saying "And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, anoint your head and wash your face, that your fasting may not be seen by others but by your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you." This passage indicates that fasting is not only a physical act but also a spiritual one, done in secret and for the purpose of pleasing God.

Furthermore, throughout the Bible, the connection between fasting and prayer is clear. In Joel 2:12, it says "Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning." and in Ezra 8:23 "So we fasted and entreated our God for this, and he listened to our entreaty."

In conclusion, in Mark 9:29, Jesus is emphasizing the spiritual power and effort that is required to overcome a particularly stubborn form of unclean spirit possession. He states that this kind can come out only by prayer and fasting, highlighting the importance of these spiritual disciplines in the fight against evil. This passage also emphasizes the power of fasting and prayer in the spiritual life, and the importance of humility and devotion to God in the practice of these disciplines.

Next Post »