The Demand of Prayer & Fasting, The Test of Frustration & Discouragement

Today’s selected reading continues in the New Testament gospel narrative concerning the life and ministry of Jesus Christ as it was written and recorded by the apostle Matthew. More specifically, today’s passage is found in the seventeenth chapter of this New Testament book. THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE MESSIAH! BEHOLDING THE GLORY OF CHRIST IN THE COMPANY OF MOSES AND ELIJAH! HOW DID PETER, JAMES AND JOHN KNOW THAT JESUS WAS SPEAKING WITH MOSES AND ELIJAH? WHAT DID THESE THREE DISCIPLES SPEAK UNTO THE APOSTLE MATTHEW AND THE OTHER APOSTLES CONCERNING THIS ENCOUNTER? WHAT WAS IT LIKE TO BE IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LAW, THE PROPHETS AND GRACE ATOP THE MOUNTAIN? SEEING THE GLORY OF THE SON AND HEARING THE VOICE OF THE FATHER! SEEING THE GLORY OF THE SON IN THE PRESENCE OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS! THE TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS & THE VOICE OF THE FATHER! THE TRANSFIGURATION OF JESUS AND THE PRESENCE OF THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS! JOHN THE BAPTIST HAS COME AND THEY DID UNTO WHATSOEVER THEY DESIRED! JOHN THE BAPTIST CAME AND SUFFERED AND SO MUST THE SON OF MAN SUFFER AT THE HANDS OF MEN! ELIJAH CAME AND THEY DID WHATSOEVER THEY WANTED UNTO HIM—LIKEWISE THEY WOULD DO UNTO JESUS THE CHRIST! JOHN THE BAPTIST WAS THE FIRST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN TO DIE, AND HE DIED AFTER BEING IMPRISONED BY HEROD! HERODIAS WOULD HAVE KILLED HIM FROM THE START, HOWEVER, HEROD PREVENTED IT OUT OF FEAR FOR THIS PROPHET!

            LORD, HAVE MERCY ON MY SON! HE IS LUNATICK, AND SORE VEXED! OFTTIMES HE FALLETH INTO THE FIRE, AND OFT INTO THE WATER! I BROUGHT HIM TO THY DISCIPLES, AND THEY COULD NOT CURE HIM! YOUR DISCIPLES COULD DO NOTHING! THE CHURCH COULD DO NOTHING! THE CHURCH COULD NOT HELP MY SON! THE CHURCH COULD NOT HELP MY DAUGHTER! THE CHURCH COULD NOT HELP MY FATHER! THE CHURCH COULD NOT HELP MY MOTHER! [AFTER THE GLORY CAME THE MULTITUDE! AFTER THE GLORY CAME THE NEED! AFTER THE VOICE CAME THE NEED!] JESUS, WHY COULDN’T YOUR DISCIPLES DO WHAT I NEEDED? JESUS, WHY COULDN’T YOUR CHURCH COME THROUGH WHEN I NEEDED IT THE MOST? JESUS, WHY COULD YOUR CHURCH AND YOUR BODY NOT HELP IN MY PRESENT SITUATION? JESUS, I BROUGHT MY SON UNTO YOUR CHURCH AND THEY COULD DO NOTHING FOR HIM! JESUS, I BROUGHT MY DAUGHTER UNTO YOUR BODY AND THEY COULD DO NOTHING FOR HER! POWERLESS DISCIPLES! POWERLESS CHURCH! POWERLESS CHRISTIANS! JESUS CAN YOU DO SOMETHING BECAUSE YOUR CHURCH COULDN’T! JESUS CAN YOU DO SOMETHING BECAUSE YOUR DISCIPLES COULDN’T! JESUS, I THOUGHT I COULD BRING MY SON TO YOUR DISCIPLES, BUT THEY COULDN’T DO ANYTHING! JESUS, I THOUGHT I COULD BRING MY CHILD TO YOUR CHURCH, BUT IT COULDN’T DO ANYTHING! JESUS, CAN YOU DO SOMETHING YOUR DISCIPLES COULDN’T DO? JESUS CAN YOU DO SOMETHING YOUTR CHURCH COULDN’T? O FAITHLESS AND PERVERSE GENERATION, HOW LONG SHALL I BE WITH YOU? HOW LONG SHALL I SUFFER YOU? BRING HIM HITHER TO ME! JESUS REBUKED THE DEVIL; AND HE DEPARTED OUT OF HIM! THE CHILD WAS CURED FROM THAT VERY HOUR! WHY COULD NOT WE CAST HIM OUT? BECAUSE OF YOUR UNBELIEF! IF YOU HAVE FAITH AS A GRAIN OF MUSTARD SEED, YE SHALL SAY TO THIS MOUNTAIN! THIS KIND GOETH NOT OUT BUT BY PRAYER AND FASTING!

            WHILE THEY ABODE IN GALILEE, JESUS SAID UNTO THEM, THE SON OF MAN SHALL BE BETRAYED INTO THE HANDS OF MEN! THEY SHALL KILL HIM! THE THIRD DAY HE SHALL BE RAISED AGAIN!

            THEY THAT RECEIVED TRIBUTE MONEY CAME TO PETER, AND SAID, DOTH NOT YOUR MASTER PAY TRIBUTE? WHAT THINKEST THOU, SIMON? OF WHOM DO THE KINGS OF TH EEARTH TAKE CUSTOM OR TRIBUTE? OF THEIR OWN CHILDREN, OR OF STRANGERS? PETER SAITH UNTO HIM, OF STRANGERS! NOTWITHSTANDING, LEST WE SHOULD OFFEND THEM! THOU SHALT FIND A PIECE OF MONEY: THAT TAKE, AND GIVE UNTO THEM FOR ME AND THEE!

            THE DISCIPLES CAME UNTO JESUS, SAYING, WHO IS THE GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN? JESUS CALLED A LITTLE CHILD UNTO HIM, AND SET HIM IN THE MIDST OF THEM! EXCEPT YE BE CONVERTED, AND BECOME AS LITTLE CHILDREN, YE SHALL NOT ENTER INTO THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN! WHOSOEVER THEREFRE SHALL HUMBLE HIMSELF AS THIS LITTLE CHILD, THE SAME IS GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN! WHOSO SHALL OFFEND ONE OF THESE LITTLE ONES WHICH BELIEVE IN ME, IT WERE BETTER FOR HIM THAT A MILLSTONE WERE HANGED ABOUT HIS NECK, AND THAT HE WERE DROWNED IN THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA! WOE TO THE WORLD BECAUSE OF OFFENCES! FOR IT MUS TNEEDS BE THAT OFFENCES COME! WOE TO THAT MANY BY WHOM THE OFFENCE COMETH!

            When you come to this particular portion of Scripture you will find a powerful transition within the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew. In all reality, when you come to the sixteenth chapter of this book you will notice a tremendous and incredible transition that takes place within Jesus’ interaction with His disciples, for there is something Jesus begins teaching and speaking unto them that is vastly different from what He spoke unto them before. If and as you begin reading in the sixteenth chapter you will notice Jesus asking His disciples who men said that He the Son of man was—a question to which they responded by declaring how some said that He was John the Baptist, how others said that He was Elijah, how others said that He was Jeremiah, and still how others said that He was one of the prophets. Jesus would then turn the question on its head and ask them who they themselves said that He the Son of man. It would be upon this question being made personal before and unto the disciples Simon called Peter would speak up and emphatically declare that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how incredibly powerful this declaration would truly be—not only within the heart and life of the apostle Peter, and not only within the hearts and lives of the disciples who were present there with him, but also within the hearts and lives of the church itself. Not only this, but we must also recognize and understand that this declaration would be one that would be part of the very core and foundation of the church’s belief and foundation throughout the centuries and generations from the time Simon called Peter first made it. What’s more, is that since the middle of last century this declaration has flown directly in the face of a religion present in the world which has declared the exact opposite. If you study world history you will notice that ever since the advent and rise of Islam they have had their own declaration which is entirely and altogether different from this one. Any Muslim throughout the centuries has made the declaration that “there is no God but Allah, and Mohammed is his messenger”—a declaration that has flown directly in the face of the declaration that Jesus is the Christ and the Son of the living God.

            What makes this declaration so incredibly challenging is that it not only flies directly in the face of and is antithetical and diametrically opposed to that which is spoken by Muslims within and throughout the world, but it also flew directly in the face of the Jews and religious elite during the days of Jesus. In fact, when you read the words which are found in the New Testament gospel which was written by the apostle John you will find that the Jews not only persecuted Jesus because He made statements which declared Himself to be the Son of God, but they also sought to kill and put Him to death. Within and throughout the New Testament gospel narrative which was written by the apostle John we find both the Jews and the religious elite persecuting Jesus—and not only persecuting Him, but also seeking to kill Him—because He made declarations which not only suggested that He was the Son of God, but also that He was somehow equal with God. We dare not and must not miss how incredibly important this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for these words bring us face to face with what is perhaps one of—if not the most powerful declaration that can be made by a disciple and follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. To declare that Jesus is not only the Christ, but also the Son of the living God both speaks of His fulfillment of prophecy, as well as His being the Son of God and having descended and come from God. We must needs realize and recognize just how powerful this declaration truly is, for this declaration brings us face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that not only did Jesus fulfill prophecy as the Christ, but Jesus also came from the Father as the eternal and only begotten Son. Oh how absolutely wonderful and incredible this truly is when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the awesome and truth that Jesus is not only the Christ, but Jesus is also the eternal and only begotten Son. What’s more, is that it would be at the Jordan River the Father would speak from heaven and emphatically declare that Jesus was His beloved Son in whom He was well pleased, while Simon also called Peter would declare Him to be both the Christ and the Son of the living God here at Caesarea Philippi.

            You cannot read this particular portion of Scripture and not encounter the wonderful and powerful truth surrounding Simon Peter’s declaration concerning Jesus being the Christ and the Son of the living God—and not only his declaration that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God, but also Jesus declaring unto Simon that he was blessed, for flesh and blood had not revealed this unto him, but rather His Father which was in heaven. Oh how truly awesome and powerful this is when you take the time to think about it, for it calls and draws our attention to the wonderful fact that this revelation concerning Jesus and His being the Christ and the Son of the living God is not something that comes by and through flesh and blood, but it is something that comes as a revelation from the Father which is in heaven. It is the Father alone who not only calls and draws us unto His Son, but it is the Father who reveals the identity and true nature of Jesus—not only as the Christ, but also as the Son of the living God in heaven. What makes this even more intriguing and interesting is when you think about and consider the fact that immediately after Simon called Peter would make this declaration before Jesus in the company and presence of all the disciples Jesus would from that time on begin teaching them how He must needs go up unto Jerusalem, how He must needs suffer many things at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders, and how He must be killed. It would be from this time on Jesus would begin teaching His disciples—almost as though it would be in light of the declaration Simon Peter made on that day in Caesarea Philippi—that He must suffer many things and must ultimately die. It is absolutely necessary that we recognize and pay close and careful attention to this, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that the time was nearing and the time was approaching when Jesus would indeed suffer many things in the city of Jerusalem at the hands of the chief priests, the scribes and the elders of Israel—and not only suffer many things, but also be killed before being raised to life on the third day. Immediately after the revelation and declaration that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God we find Jesus beginning to teach His disciples concerning the sacrifice of suffering and the sacrifice of death He must indeed make within the city of Jerusalem before being raised from death to life on the third day.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering just how absolutely wonderful and incredible this truly is, for in the direct context of Jesus beginning to teach the disciples how He must needs journey unto Jerusalem and suffer many thing at the hands of the religious elite and be killed, Jesus would also speak and declare unto them that if man desired to come after Him they must deny themselves, take up their cross and follow Him. What we must recognize and acknowledge is that this would now be the second time when speaking unto the disciples Jesus would speak unto them concerning the cross—and not only speaking unto them concerning the cross, but also concerning their need for self-denial, their need to take up the cross, and their following Him. What’s more, is that there almost seems to be this direct and intrinsic link and connection between walking with and following Jesus and denying ourselves. Not only this, but there is almost this apparent and intrinsic link and connection between walking with and following Jesus and taking up our cross. It’s almost as if Jesus was emphatically declaring that we could not even declare or make the boast that we were walking with and following Him without and apart from the manifestation and presence of the cross within our hearts and lives. It’s almost as if Jesus was declaring unto His disciples that following Him would and could not come absent and apart from the cross, and that the cross is an integral part of not only following Him, but also making the declaration that we are following Him. If there is one thing we must needs realize, recognize and understand, it’s that we as the disciples of Jesus—those who have made the confession, the profession and the declaration that we are walking with and following Him—must needs not only deny ourselves, but we must also take up our cross. In other words, it is virtually impossible to make the declaration that we are walking with and following Jesus—and it actually being true—if we are unwilling to take up the cross. Oh we might be able to commit ourselves to self-denial, however, when it comes to taking up and carrying our cross we tend to shy away from it. Oh we are willing to deny ourselves and follow Jesus the Christ, however, we are unwilling to take up the cross. It is easy to deny ourselves, for self-denial is a mark and sign of humility, however, when it comes to actually taking up our cross we are entirely and altogether hesitant—perhaps even resistant—in doing so because of what it can and will mean for us.

            I find it absolutely and incredibly intriguing and interesting to read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for it calls us to come face to face with the fact that the cross is more than just the instrument which was used to crucify Jesus. The cross is more than just an instrument and tool that was used by the Father to put His only begotten and His beloved Son to death, but it is actually a sign and a symbol to discipleship. The cross isn’t simply an instrument that was used to speak of the suffering of Christ and His ultimate death upon the cross, but the cross is indeed and is in fact a symbol of discipleship and our walking with and following Him. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely vital and critical this is, for when we think about and consider it we are brought face to face with the tremendous responsibility we have as those who profess to walk with and follow Jesus to ensure that the cross is at the very heart and center of our lives. Oh it is easy to have the cross at the center of our lives so long as Jesus is the one who is carrying it, and so long as Jesus is the one who is nailed to it and is the one who is hanging on the cross at Calvary. When, however, the cross demands of us that which we are unwilling to give—or when the cross demands more of us than we are actually giving—we tend to shy away from and remove its presence from our lives altogether. There are many men and women who have absolutely no issue, no quarrel, nor qualm, nor any trouble with the cross being the central and focal point of Christianity so long as it is Jesus who is carrying the cross, and so long as it is Jesus who is being nailed to and hung upon that cross. It is when the cross is actually something which we must needs carry and take up that we begin resisting and fighting against it. It is when we—like the rich young ruler—realize what we have been called to give up and give that we tend to walk away from and turn our backs upon the cross which we have been called to carry and take up within our hearts and lives.

            The more I think about and the more I consider this truly awesome and powerful truth and reality the more I am brought face to face with the truly wonderful and powerful truth that we have a great and powerful need to transition and take the cross out of its place solely and entirely in connection with Jesus the Christ, and to include, involve and invite its presence into our lives. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—it is absolutely necessary that we realize Jesus didn’t carry the cross so we wouldn’t have to, nor was Jesus nailed to the cross so we could somehow escape the manifestation and presence of the cross within our lives. There is this tendency to think and believe that Jesus carried the cross so we wouldn’t have to, and that Jesus was nailed to the cross so that we wouldn’t have to experience the presence and manifestation of the cross within our hearts and lives. There is this growing temptation and tendency to believe that Jesus died upon the cross so that we wouldn’t have to, and yet it was the apostle Paul who not only wrote concerning his being crucified with Christ, but it was also the apostle Paul who wrote how we must needs present our bodies as living sacrifices holy and acceptable unto the Lord. What’s more, is the apostle Paul also emphatically and boldly declared that we must needs be crucified with Christ that our old sin nature might be crucified in order that when we are buried and raised from death to life again we might be raised to newness of life. It was the apostle Paul who invited us to present our bodies as living sacrifices, thus indicating and implying that sacrifice was that which is both ongoing and continuous. What we must needs realize and recognize concerning the taking up of the cross within our lives is that it can and will make demands of and from us—demands which we might more often than not resist and fight against. The cross is an instrument and symbol of discipleship within our lives, and Jesus twice spoke of the cross in direct connection to discipleship and following Him before He would ever speak about the cross in terms of His death and the giving of His life as a ransom for the sins of the world.

            It is truly something awesome and powerful to think about and consider the words which are found within the gospel narrative which was written by the apostle Matthew, for within it we are brought face to face with the fact that if any man does not deny himself, nor take up his cross and follow Jesus—that man is not worthy of Him. Within the gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we find and discover that any man who loves father or mother, brother or sister more than Him is not worthy of Him. Oh we dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely incredible this truly is, for it calls and draws our attention to just how integral and vital the cross is within our hearts and lives. Jesus emphatically declared that we were not worthy of Him if we refused to deny ourselves, if we refused to take up our cross, and if we refused to follow Him. Oh that we would truly realize and recognize the sacrifice of suffering that is present within our hearts and lives, and that we would realize the sacrifice which the cross requires and demands within our hearts and lives. We have great need to realize and understand just how incredibly integral and vital the cross is within our hearts and lives, for Jesus not only directly linked the cross to discipleship and following Him, but would even go so far as to declare that those who did not deny themselves and take up their cross were not worthy of Him. Dear reader—you and I must needs come face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that we have been called to walk with and follow the Lord Jesus Christ, however, that walking with, and that fellowship with, and that following after Christ can and will demand and require that we deny ourselves and take up our cross. We cannot, we dare not, we must not seek to separate the cross from our discipleship and from our walking with and following Jesus, for it is the cross that stands at the very heart and center of our walking with and following Him.

            As you read the words which are found within chapters sixteen and seventeen you will find Jesus—three different times and on three different occasions—teaching and speaking concerning His suffering and His death. Immediately following the encounter at Caesarea Philippi when Simon called Peter made the declaration that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God Jesus would begin teaching them how He must needs go up to Jerusalem, suffer many things at the hands of the religious elite, be killed, and ultimately be raised from death to life on the third day. What’s more, is that as you begin reading within the seventeenth chapter of this book you will Jesus once more alluding to and referencing the suffering He would face and endure when He spoke of John the Baptist, how they did what they wanted to him, and how they would likewise and in the same manner do unto Christ. It would be after Jesus was transfigured atop the mountain in the company and presence of Peter, James and John, and it would be after the voice of the Father would break the silence of that experience and not only declare that Jesus was His Son, but also instructed them to hear Him we find Jesus declaring unto these three disciples how the same ones who persecuted and ultimately killed John the Baptist would also do the same to Jesus. Although His words would not have the same language which was used at Caesarea Philippi, it would nonetheless represent a powerful truth that Jesus was preparing Himself—and not only preparing Himself, but also preparing the disciples for His suffering and His death. What makes the gospel narratives so incredibly intriguing and captivating is when you think about and consider the fact that not only did Jesus prepare and make ready His disciples for His suffering and death, but Jesus would also make ready and prepare His disciples for His departure from this world and from this life. It would be within and throughout the four gospel narratives you will find Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for His suffering and death in the city of Jerusalem, and it would be in the gospel narrative written by the apostle John you find Jesus preparing and making ready His disciples for His departure from them and His ultimate return unto His Father which was in heaven.

            Oh I can’t help but be absolutely and incredibly gripped and captivated with these words, for we must needs realize that from the time of Simon Peter’s declaration concerning Jesus and His being the Christ and the Son of the living God we find Jesus beginning to teach the disciples how He must needs suffer many things at the hands of the religious elite, how He must be betrayed, how He must be killed, and how He must be raised from death to life on the third day. You cannot read the gospel narratives and not encounter and come face to face with this truly awesome and powerful truth, for immediately after Simon made the declaration that Jesus was the Christ and the Son of the living God Jesus would begin teaching them that He must needs suffer many things, and ultimately die. What I find so strong and so powerful about this, however, is that although Jesus would teach them how He must needs suffer many things at the hands of the religious elite, and how He must needs be killed—He would ultimately be raised from death to life on the third day. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of this, for it calls and draws our attention to the fact that with the suffering and death of Jesus would also come His ultimate resurrection. In other words, there would be no death without and apart from suffering, and there would be no death without resurrection. In between the suffering and the resurrection would be death, however, that death would not leave Jesus dead in the grave, for the Father would not suffer His soul to remain in Sheol, nor would the Father suffer His body to remain in the grave. The Father would indeed and would in fact raise Jesus from death to life on the third day, and Jesus would spend forty days demonstrating and manifesting Himself as being very much alive after being killed—and not only killed, but being killed in a very public fashion and forum. We must needs realize that while Jesus would indeed speak of His being killed, He also declared and proclaimed that He would rise from death to life on the third day.

            With all of this being said, I feel it necessary to transition and direct our attention to an event which is recorded in the seventeenth chapter of this New Testament gospel narrative. If and as you begin reading the seventeenth chapter after the transfiguration of Jesus the Christ you will find that as they came down from the mountain they would come unto a great multitude which was present at the base. Upon coming down from the mountain there would be on who would come unto Jesus in an incredibly desperate place. The apostle Matthew writes and recounts how as Jesus came down from the mountain with Peter, James and John there would be a man who would come unto him in an absolutely desperate place on behalf of his son. The account and narrative recounts and recalls how this man came unto Jesus asking Jesus to have mercy on his son, for his son was lunatic, and was sore vexed. What’s more, is that this man would also declare unto Jesus that his son oftentimes fell into the fire, and how his son oftentimes fell into the fire. What makes the encounter between Jesus and this man so incredibly unique and challenging is when you think about and consider the tremendous truth that there were essentially three different parts to his request of Jesus. There was the initial coming unto Jesus, kneeling down before Him and asking Him to have mercy on his son—a sign and symbol of sheer and utter dependence and desperation at that particular moment in time. There was the declaration and recounting of the need within his son’s life, for the father would not only declare that his son was sore vexed, but also how his son would oftentimes throw himself into the fire and would oftentimes throw himself in the water. As a side note it is absolutely and quite clear that the powers of darkness were not only seeking to torment, oppress and vex this child, but were also seeking to destroy him altogether. In all reality, I would dare say that this is something we are witnessing within our own generation in the midst of this culture and society, for the powers of darkness not only seek to oppress our sons and our daughters, but also seeks to destroy them. If the enemy and adversary can’t destroy them within the womb, the enemy will seek to destroy them as they begin growing up within the earth. We don’t know, and we aren’t given any clue or indication as to how this young boy became so oppressed and so vexed, however, we do know that this son was cruelly oppressed, and was violently tormented by the powers of darkness.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be brought face to face with the fact that within and throughout history the enemy and adversary has attempted to destroy the lives of individuals—pretty much from the time they were brought forth from the womb, and all the way up to and during their times as adults. If you read and study history you will find that in the land of Egypt Pharaoh ordered all the infant boys under the age of two be drowned in the Nile River out of fear and intimidation of the Hebrew people which were growing, multiplying and prospering in the land of Goshen. During the days of the birth of Jesus you will find Herod ordering the destruction and killing of all the infant males under the age of three be killed and destroyed. During and throughout the history of the children of Israel you will find this continued assault on the lives of the children as the people of Israel would sacrifice their children unto Molech in the fires of this false gods image. The children of Israel sacrificed their children unto Molech in the fires which burned in the bowels of the image they had crafted, while within our nation, culture and society we kill our children before they are even brought forth from the womb. Every since Roe vs Wade back in the latter part of last century there has been an ongoing assault and attack on children—and not only against children, but against them within the womb of the mother. The enemy and adversary has made it absolutely clear that he doesn’t even want them being conceived and brought forth from the womb, but wants to destroy them within the womb of their mothers.

            Pause for a moment and think about the tremendous fact and truth that over the past fifty or so years—not only have we seen God and prayer removed from our public schools, but we have also seen the systematic destruction and annihilation of children within the wombs of their mothers. There have been countless women who have committed themselves, their bodies, and the lives of the children growing within their wombs to carrying out the desire and the plan of the adversary. Over the past fifty years we have watched and witnessed as untold millions—if not billions—of infants have been slaughtered and destroyed within the wombs of their mothers, as the enemy and adversary has sought to completely and utterly destroy the lives of countless men and women within the womb. The enemy and adversary wasn’t merely satisfied with destroying them after they came forth from the womb, but he has resorted to killing and destroying the within the wombs of their mothers. Oh dear brother, oh dear sister—we must needs realize and understand how the enemy and adversary has systematically destroyed and annihilated countless millions of lives within the womb, as women and as couples have made the decision to abort that life which was growing inside them. What makes this all the more intriguing is when you think about the fact that we have been so up in arms about this “cancel culture” which is present within our nation today that we have neglected and ignored the fact that the enemy has sought to “cancel” and destroy countless untold millions of lives within the wombs of women within and throughout this nation. WE have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about and considering how the left and how a certain political party—together with big tech, together with social media, and together with the media—has sought to cancel us within this nation, and yet we have failed to realize and understand how for nearly half a century we have been guilty of cancelling life itself. While I do indeed believe that this “cancel culture” that is plaguing and gripping our culture and society is indeed a problem and present danger, I would like to also present to you that for nearly fifty years we have been guilty of “cancelling” and destroying the lives of millions which have begun growing within the wombs of their mothers.

            As we read the words which are found within the seventeenth chapter of the New Testament gospel narrative written by the apostle Matthew we are brought face to face with the powerful truth that the enemy and adversary sought to cancel and destroy the life of this young child. Scripture doesn’t reveal how old this child truly was, however we know and understand that the enemy and adversary sought to completely and utterly destroy him during those days. This father came unto Jesus in a desperate place on behalf of his son, for the spirit which was tormenting and afflicting him would oftentimes cast him into the fire and would oftentimes cast him into the flood. There is a clear and present picture within this text of this unclean and foul spirit tormenting, oppressing and vexing this child—and not only oppressing this child, but also seeking to cancel and destroy him. Oh we must needs realize and understand this, for it calls and draws our attention to that which the enemy and adversary seeks to do within our culture and society during these days in which we are living. I am absolutely and completely convinced that the enemy and adversary is still during the days in which we are living seeking to cancel and destroy the lives of countless men and women—maybe not by casting them into a literal fire, and maybe not be casting them into literal waters, but through addiction, through violence, through what is being presented on the internet, through what is presented on television, through abuse, through molestation, through kidnapping, through trafficking, and the like. We dare not and must not miss and lose sight of just how absolutely critical this truly is within our culture and society, for the enemy and adversary has indeed sought to cancel, annihilate and destroy the lives of countless millions within our culture and society.

            When I encounter the words which are found within this passage of Scripture I am brought face to face with the tremendous and incredible truth that not only did this man come unto Jesus to heal and deliver his son, but this man also came with somewhat of an indictment toward the remaining nine disciples. There were three of Jesus’ twelve disciples on top of the mountain with Him as He was transfigured in their sight and presence, and while those three were atop the mountain the other nine were down at the base of the mountain being confronted with an evil and unclean spirit who was tormenting, oppressing and vexing a young child. It is actually quite astonishing to think about and consider how while three of the disciples were together with Jesus atop the mountain where He was transfigured, the remaining nine disciples were essentially down at the bottom of the mountain being confronted with spiritual warfare. Oh I can’t help but wonder what it was like when this man brought his son unto Jesus’ other nine disciples—one of which would include the apostle Matthew who wrote this particular account. What was it like for these nine disciples when this man’s son was brought unto them and as they undoubtedly saw the tremendous spiritual warfare and conflict that was present within his life? I find myself thinking about and considering what it was like for this father as he brought his son unto Jesus’ disciples—perhaps wanting to bring him unto Jesus Himself—and as he had the anticipation and expectation that they would be able to cure and heal his son. There is not a doubt in my mind that this father had the expectation that Jesus’ disciples could indeed heal and deliver his son, and yet he was perhaps disappointed and disillusioned when he realized that his disciples could do absolutely nothing for his son. It’s truly something unique to think about the fact that while Jesus was atop the mountain together with three of His disciples, the other nine were at the base of the mountain being confronted with spiritual warfare—essentially in the trenches.

            We dare not miss and lose sight of what is written and recorded in this passage of Scripture, for the words we find within it bring us face to face with perhaps one of the strongest and most terrifying indictments against churches and bodies of believers within our culture and society today. It’s incredibly astonishing to think about and consider the fact that this father brought his son unto the disciples thinking and believing that they would be able to deliver and heal his son, and yet when standing in the presence of Jesus he declared that his disciples could not cure him. Pause for a moment and consider what that must have been like—not only for this father to declare unto Jesus that his disciples could in no wise cure his son, but also for the disciples to hear these words spoken concerning them. I would love to know what it was like for the other nine disciples who were present at the base of the mountain who heard the words of this father and how he declared unto Jesus that they were unable to cure his son. I have to admit that these words and this passage has long and oftentimes challenged me—and not only challenged me, but also directly challenged the church and body of Christ within our culture and society today. I can’t help but think about how many times fathers have brought their sons, mothers have brought their daughters, parents have brought their children, children have brought their parents, and so many others who have brought loved ones and family members into the house of God expecting and anticipating that the church and body of Christ would be able to do something for them—only to find and discover that they were completely and utterly powerless to do anything. I can’t help but think about and consider how many men and women have entered into the four walls of our churches with the tremendous need within their hearts and lives to be healed, to be delivered, to be set free, to be made whole, to be cleansed, and to be restored, and yet they have found an entirely different reality upon entering.

            I sit here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but be brought face to face with what an incredible indictment and challenge such a statement can indeed be in direct connection and relation to the church. I can’t help but think about and consider the awesome and powerful truth that what we see and what we find in this particular narrative and passage of Scripture has in fact happened, and has indeed happened within many of our churches and houses of worship. I am absolutely and completely convinced that there have been times when men and women have entered into the four walls of our church buildings looking for something from the disciples and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and yet they have found themselves becoming discouraged, disillusioned and disenfranchised with the church and body of Christ. There have been men and women who have entered into our church buildings and houses of worship looking for something specific—and not only something specific, but something different from what they have experienced—and they have found themselves being disappointed and discouraged as they have been forced to realize that the body of believers whom they have come unto could in no wise offer them any healing, any hope, any cleansing, and the like. I can’t help but think about what a tremendous indictment and challenge this particular passage truly is when you take the time to think about how many men and women within the four walls of our churches have become and grown incredibly discouraged and frustrated because they come thinking and expecting the people of God can offer something different from what they have previously experienced, and yet they find the churches and body of Christ can offer them nothing. It is truly something unique to think about and consider the words which are found within this passage of Scripture, for the words we find here bring us face to face with the fact that these disciples were essentially indicted by this father for being unable to cure his son. Undoubtedly this man thought and believed that the disciples of Jesus would be able to help his son, and yet he would quickly find and discover that they were unable to do any such thing  for him.

            It is truly worth thinking about and considering this passage of Scripture, for within this passage we are brought face to face with the fact that this father brought his son who was in a desperate place being oppressed, tormented and vexed by an unclean spirit which sought to destroy him, and yet the disciples of Jesus were unable to cure him. I cannot help but think about and consider these words and how absolutely challenging they are for us as the people of God—not only in the sense that this father declared that the disciples of Jesus could not cure his son, but also because when Jesus was asked by the disciples why they could not cast the unclean spirit out—He responded by declaring that this kind comes not out but by prayer and fasting. There is a strong and important link and connection between being unable to cure and cast out this unclean spirit and the need for prayer and fasting, as Jesus’ words suggested that such deliverance would and could only be made possible through prayer and fasting. You almost get the sense when reading this passage of Scripture that the disciples of Jesus had not yet entered into that place of prayer and fasting that was needed for such an encounter. We know that the disciples were sent out by Jesus in groups of two to heal the sick, to cast out devils and unclean spirits, and to preach the gospel concerning the kingdom, however, when we come to this particular narrative we find Jesus declaring unto them that there are some things that just won’t change without prayer and fasting. SOME THINGS JUST WON’T GO WITHOUT PRAYER AND FASTING! SOME THINGS JUST WON’T DIE WITHOUT PRAYER AND FASTING! SOME THINGS JUST WON’T BE CAST OUT WITHOUT PRAYER AND FASTING! SOME THINGS JUST WON’T BE DESTROYED WITHOUT PRAYER AND FASTING! SOME THINGS JUST WON’T BE RELEASED WITHOUT PRAYER AND FASTING!.

            I cannot help but read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and be directly and completely confronted with the fact that there might be things within our lives which we desperately desire to be destroyed, and things within our lives which we desperately want changed, and yet the truth and underlying reality is that such things cannot and will not be changed without and apart from prayer and fasting. We might read these words and think that Jesus was condemning the disciples for their lack of prayer and fasting, and yet we find within the gospels Him speaking about the friends of the bridegroom not fasting while the bridegroom was present among them. There would come a point in time when the friends of the bridegroom would indeed fast, and when they would indeed pray, however, that time was not yet while Jesus was still among them. The words which Jesus spoke unto the disciples is a powerful statement and declaration that there were certain unclean spirits which could not be cast out without and apart from prayer and fasting. Jesus’ words powerfully illustrated and revealed the fact that there were some battles which simply could not be won without and apart from prayer and fasting. Oh this does not mean that we are not in the fight and that we are not fighting, however, it does indeed and does in fact mean that the battle cannot truly be won without and apart from prayer and fasting. We must needs realize and understand this, for just because you are engaged in warfare, and just because you are engaged in conflict, and just because you are engaged in the battle does not mean that you can win without and apart from prayer and fasting. It is possible to be in the fight, and it is possible to fight, and yet not set the victory or triumph without and apart from prayer and fasting. It is possible to be engaged in spiritual warfare and conflict and yet to not actually see any change without and apart from prayer and fasting. Oh we would like to think that simply showing up to the battle and simply fighting is in and of itself enough, however, the truth of the matter is that with our fighting there must also be prayer and fasting.

            I am sitting here today thinking about and considering the words which are found within this passage of Scripture and I can’t help but encounter and come face to face with the tremendous truth that there are things within our lives which simply cannot and will not change without prayer and fasting. There are battles we have been facing for years—battles which we continue to experience defeat in over and over again—which cannot and will not be won without and apart from prayer and fasting. There are enemies and adversaries we have been engaged with for quite some time now within our hearts and lives, and yet those enemies cannot and will not be defeated without and apart from prayer and fasting. There are certain breakthroughs we are desiring within our hearts and lives which cannot and will not come without and apart from prayer and fasting. It’s actually quite remarkable and quite astonishing to think about and consider the fact that there are certain things within our lives which simply cannot and will not change without and apart from prayer and fasting. It should be noted that Jesus’ words were not only a statement and declaration, but also an invitation—an invitation to enter into and engage themselves in the disciplines of prayer and fasting. It’s worth noting that within His Sermon on the Mount Jesus highlighted, underscored and touched on both of these disciplines and practices, as He not only taught and instructed the disciples and followers concerning prater, but He also taught them concerning fasting. As surely as I write these words which you are reading I am absolutely convinced that there are certain things within our lives which simply cannot and will not take place without prayer and fasting. There might be things which you are praying for right now—and while your prayers are indeed good, and while it is good that you are praying—and yet your prayers alone aren’t enough. Would it shock and surprise you to think and consider that it’s entirely and altogether possible for your prayers to not be enough? Would it shock and surprise you to think and consider the prayer alone isn’t enough, and that fasting is also the missing piece and component to what we are facing and experiencing? Consider if you will the following words which are written and recorded in the fifty-eighth chapter of the Old Testament prophetic book of Isaiah:

            “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins. Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: They ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God. Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? Wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours. Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: Ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high. Is it such a fast that I have chosen? A day for a man to afflict his soul? Is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? Wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD? Is not this the fast that I have chosen? To loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed to free, and that ye break every yoke? Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? When thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward. Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity; and if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday: and the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not. And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called The repairer of the breach, the restorer of paths to dwell in” (Isaiah 58:1-12).

            The words which are presented before us within this passage are a powerful invitation and call to enter into this world of fasting—and not only to enter into the realm of fasting, but that our fasting might actually have a purpose and might actually accomplish something. It is as you read the words of the prophet found within this passage of Scripture you will be brought face to face with the language of “loosing the bands of wickedness,” the language of “undoing the heavy burdens,” the language of “letting the oppressed go free,” and the language of “breaking every yoke.” Moreover, it is when you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture we are brought fact to face with fasting also having a direct link and connection to those we encounter and come in contact with. As you continue reading these words you will find the LORD speaking directly unto His people through His servant Isaiah and speaking of fasting as being a time when we deal our bread to the hungry, and when we bring the poor which are cast out into our house. Not only this, but the LORD also speaks of fasting as being directly linked and connected to us seeing the naked and covering them, and that we do not hide ourselves from our own flesh. In all reality—when you read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture you will be brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that fasting isn’t even about us. Oh it is true that when we fast we do at times fast for what is taking place and what we are experiencing within our lives, however, we must needs realize that our fasting is more often than not directly linked and intrinsically connected to those before and around us. The words which we find within this passage of Scripture speak of fasting as being directly linked to loosing the bands of wickedness, to undoing the heavy burdens, to letting the oppressed go free, and breaking every yoke.

            LOOSING THE BANDS OF WICKEDNESS! UNDOING HEAVY BURDENS! LETTING THE OPPRESSED GO FREE! BREAKING EVERY YOKE! If and as you read the words which are found within this passage of Scripture you will be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that fasting is directly linked to bondage, to oppression, to captivity, and to that which seeks to keep us in chains. In all reality—when we read the narrative of this father and his son we are brought into the realm where this son was cruelly oppressed and violently tormented by this unclean spirit. Moreover, this unclean spirit sought to destroy this young child by throwing him into the fire, as well as throwing him into the flood. Oh we must needs realize and understand that which is found within this passage of Scripture, for it calls and draws our attention to the absolutely tremendous and astonishing truth that fasting is directly linked and connected to conflict, to warfare, to battle, and to spiritual warfare. We dare not and must not think for one minute that fasting has absolutely nothing to do with others, and that fasting has absolutely nothing to do with spiritual warfare. What’s more, is that within this passage of Scripture we find that fasting properly positions us in the place where we can open up our hearts, open up our lives, and even open up our homes to those around us who are in need. There is the element of conflict, battle and warfare that is present within this passage of Scripture, however, we must needs realize and understand that there is also the element of giving—and not just giving, but giving of ourselves. The LORD clearly spoke through His servant Isaiah concerning fasting, and how fasting was about dealing our bread to the hungry, bringing the poor that are cast out into our house, and to cover those whom we see are naked. Oh that we would truly recognize and understand this particular truth, for it brings us face to face with just how absolutely critical and necessary fasting truly is—not only for our lives, but also for those we encounter and come in contact with on a regular and daily basis.

            When I read the narrative and account that is found within the gospel written by the apostle Matthew I can’t help but be brought face to face with the awesome and incredible truth that when Jesus declared unto His disciples that “this kind” comes not out but by prayer and fasting—that which He was truly and ultimately stating and declaring unto His disciples was that there were certain things within the kingdom of heaven that simply could not be accomplished without and apart from prayer and fasting. We read the words which are found in this passage of Scripture and we are brought face to face with the awesome and powerful truth that when we think and speak about the kingdom of heaven we must needs realize and understand that there are certain things which cannot be driven out, and there are certain things which cannot be broken without and apart from prayer and fasting. What’s more, is I am absolutely and completely convinced that there are men and women among us within our churches today who are waiting for and expecting something to shift and transition within their lives, and yet they have failed to realize that the shift and transition they are looking for and desiring cannot and will not come without and apart from prayer and fasting. Even more than this, there are men and women among us within our churches and within our Christian circles who must needs realize that there are times when prayer and simply praying is not enough, and that fasting must accompany prayer. Within this passage of Scripture Jesus clearly recognized and understood the direct link between prayer and fasting, and the only way for certain battles to be won, and the only way for deliverance to take place is through prayer and fasting. Jesus directly linked and connected prayer and fasting within this single statement—and not only did He link the two together, but He also invited His disciples into that place of prayer and fasting. With these words Jesus both revealed that prayer and fasting was necessary for some of the conflicts and battles they would face, and that they would not be able to truly engage within those conflicts without and apart from prayer and fasting.

            The words which Jesus the Christ speaks within this passage of Scripture wonderfully and powerfully demonstrates the fact that there are certain things we are praying for within our hearts and lives which simply cannot and will not change if we fail to incorporate fasting. There have been times within our hearts and lives when we have thought, desired and believed things to change—and we have even given ourselves to praying and much praying—and yet we have found that what we are praying for simply has not come to pass. There have been times within our lives when we have faced struggles, battles and conflicts over and over again without experiencing any victory or breakthrough, and the underlying and root cause of the issue is that it simply cannot and will not change without and apart from prayer and fasting. Jesus’ words here in this passage clearly and succinctly state that there are certain things which simply will not go away without prayer and fasting. Oh I am absolutely and completely convinced that there are certain things we are desiring to be removed from our lives, and yet the truth of the matter is that we simply cannot and will not experience that reality and manifestation without and apart from prayer and fasting. There are certain battles and struggles we have faced within our hearts and lives which we have thought would indeed and would in fact go away simply by praying, and simply by reading the Word of God, and even by and through worshipping the LORD, and yet the truth is that such things cannot and will not go away without and apart from prayer and fasting. Is it possible that there are times within our lives when we are desirous of certain things being removed from our lives, and yet the Lord is waiting for us to give ourselves to prayer and fasting? Is it possible that there are times within our lives when the Lord can and will allow certain battles, certain struggles, and certain conflicts to remain and continue until we are ready, willing and able to give ourselves wholly to prayer and fasting? I would dare say, and I would dare contend that the answer to such questions is a resounding “Yes,” for I am absolutely convinced there are things within our hearts and lives which simply cannot change, and which simply will not go away without and apart from prayer and fasting.

            I know within my heart that there are men and women who have been desperately praying, hoping, anticipating and expecting things within their lives to change, and yet they have found themselves in a place much like this father did. This father brought his son unto the disciples of Jesus thinking and believing they would be able to cure him, and yet he quickly realized that the disciples could do nothing for his son. Undoubtedly this man was discouraged, disillusioned, and perhaps even frustrated when he realized that the disciples of Jesus could do nothing for his son. What’s more, is I would dare say that this man resolved within himself to not give up hope for his son, and would instead hold out and wait for Jesus to arrive. I have to admit that I absolutely love the resolve and commitment within the heart of this father, for he could have very easily seen how the disciples could in no wise cure his son, and he could have simply resolved that there was nothing that would or could be done for him. This father could have left the presence of Jesus’ disciples and brought his son home with him, and yet by doing so he would have missed out on what was so desperately needed within the life of his son. I absolutely love how this man—although he realized that the disciples of Jesus could not cure his son—chose to remain in that place as he waited for Jesus. WAITING FOR JESUS WHILE BEING DISILLUSIONED BY HIS DISCIPLES! WAITING FOR JESUS WHILE BEING FRUSTRATED WITH THE CHURCH! I find it truly and absolutely remarkable that this father never gave up hope for his son, and although he witnessed the fact that Jesus’ disciples could do nothing for his son—he chose to remain in that place for Jesus to arrive. This man chose to remain in that place of discouragement, this man chose to remain in that place of disillusionment, and this man chose to remain in that place of frustration because he was holding out hope that Jesus would not only arrive, but also that Jesus would be able to change the situation.

            I am absolutely and completely convinced that there is a powerful prophetic message that is found within this passage of Scripture—namely, that there are times within our lives when not only is prayer and fasting needed, but also when remaining and abiding in that place of disillusionment, and remaining and abiding in that place of discouragement is necessary. There are far too many men and women who are quick to leave such places, and far too many men and women who are quick to remove themselves from such places as they resolve within their hearts and minds that the situation cannot and will not change. If there are two distinct realities and truths that are found and presented within this passage of Scripture it’s that there are times within our lives when things simply will not change without and apart from prayer and fasting, and there are times when we can and will be called to remain in that place of frustration, that place of discouragement, and perhaps even that place of disillusionment. It would have been very easy for this father to leave the presence and company of the disciples of Jesus, and yet for him to do so would have been to forfeit any chance of deliverance for his son. Despite the fact that this man realized the disciples of Jesus could in no wise cure his son, he chose to remain in that place—and not only remain in that place, but also remain in that place with his son—that he might experience the deliverance and freedom he was hoping for and desiring within this heart. I firmly believe that there are far too many times within our hearts and lives when we give up in the place of discouragement and frustration, and instead of choosing to remain in that place for Jesus to show up, we choose to turn away and go back the way we came. I believe that when we read this passage of Scripture—not only are we confronted with the powerful truth that there are certain conflicts and struggles which cannot be changed without and apart from prayer and fasting, but we are also confronted with the powerful truth that there are times when we can and will be called to remain in the place of disillusionment, discouragement and frustration in order for true and lasting change to take place.

            I sit here today and I firmly believe that there are men and women whom the Lord is calling and inviting to remain in that place of discouragement, to remain in that place of disillusionment, to remain in that place of frustration, for it is in that place where they can and will find and encounter Jesus. I believe that there are men and women whom the Spirit of Almighty God is inviting to remain in this place of frustration and discouragement while still holding out hope for Jesus to arrive, for once Jesus arrives things will quickly change. Far too often we tend to rebuke and run away from discouragement, disillusionment, and frustration within our lives, and we think that such emotions and thoughts are not healthy or necessary. The truth of the matter, however, is that there are times when the Spirit of the Lord can and will invite us to remain in these places, for it is when we remain in these places and remain hopeful in that which the Lord Jesus Christ can do that we will see and experience the change and transformation we are so desperately desiring. There is not a doubt in my mind that running away from the discouragement, running away from the disillusionment, running away from the frustration, and simply resolving our situations and circumstances cannot and will not change will not bring about what we truly and ultimately desire within our hearts. There is a great need within our hearts and our lives to make the conscious and deliberate decision to remain in those places of discouragement, those places of disillusionment, and those places of frustration—even when it might seem utterly and completely hopeless—for it is in those places we ultimately find ourselves encountering and experiencing the Lord Jesus Christ. This father clearly witnessed the nine disciples of Jesus being unable to do anything to cure his son, and yet instead of taking his son and leaving for his home he chose to remain in that place and wait for Jesus to show up.

            REMAINING IN THE PLACE OF DISCOURAGEMENT WAITING FOR JESUS TO SHOW UP! REMAINING IN THE PLACE OF FRUSTRATION WAITING FOR JESUS TO SHOW UP! DISILLUSIONED, BUT HOPEFUL! FRUSTRATED, BUT HOPEFUL! DISCOURAGED, BUT HOPEFUL! I can’t help but be reminded of the woman with the issue of blood who had spent all her money and all she had on physicians—none of which were able to offer her healing, cleansing and wholeness. This woman had spent everything she had, and she had given everything she had within her life to try and be cleansed and made whole from her condition, and yet despite all of this she chose to make her way through the crowd walking with and following Jesus, and chose to reach for the hem of Jesus’ garment. This woman could have resolved and relegated herself to never experiencing cleansing and wholeness within her physical body, and yet instead of doing so she allowed that discouragement and that frustration to propel her to Jesus. Oh I am convinced that there are times within our lives when the frustration and discouragement within our hearts propels us to the Lord Jesus Christ, or it forces us to remain in those places as we wait for Jesus. I firmly believe within all my heart that there are men and women right now who are being called to remain in those places of discouragement and those places of frustration, for it is when you choose to remain in those places and remain hopeful that Jesus eventually shows up. I can’t help but wonder what it was like for this father to see Jesus coming down from the mountain and making His way toward and through the crowd. I would imagine the sheer and utter desperation within the heart of this father as he had already witnessed and experienced the disciples who were unable to cure his son. I absolutely love how this father could have chosen to walk away from the disciples, could have chosen to walk away from the multitude that walked with and followed Jesus, and could have made the decision not to believe in and worship the Lord Jesus, and yet this father instead chose to remain in that place that he might ultimately experience deliverance and freedom for his son.

As I bring this writing to a close I find it absolutely necessary to call and draw your attention to the tremendous and powerful reality that there are essentially two prophetic words which are found within this passage. The first prophetic word is that there are certain battles, certain conflicts, certain struggles, and certain things we face in this life that simply cannot and will not see any specific type of outcome without and apart from prayer and fasting. There are battles we fight and struggles we face in which we simply and cannot will overcome and experience breakthrough without and apart from prayer and fasting. There are certain enemies and adversaries that cannot be defeated without prayer and fasting, and there are certain things which simply cannot and will not take place within our lives without and apart from prayer and fasting. With that being said, I am also convinced that there are times within our hearts and lives when we have a great need to remain in those places of discouragement and those places of frustration—even when what we were looking for and hoping for has not come to pass. I am absolutely convinced that there are times within our hearts and our lives when it is absolutely critical and vital that we remain in that place of unmet needs and unfulfilled expectations, for it is in those places we allow our hope to rise and build up within our hearts and souls. This father could have very easily departed from the midst of the multitude, and this father could have very easily departed from the company and presence of the disciples, and he could have taken his son with him, however, I am absolutely and completely convinced that this father displayed a tremendous amount of courage, a tremendous amount of confidence, a tremendous amount of faith to remain in that place expecting Jesus to be able to change his situation and circumstance. How absolutely remarkable and incredible it is to read these words and to encounter and come face to face with a man who was not only willing to remain in that place of frustration and discouragement, but one who was also willing to hold out hope and continue believing in the person of Jesus Christ. There is something truly wonderful and powerful about not only remaining in that place of frustration and discouragement as we continue to hold out hope, but also as we continue to trust and believe in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Oh that we would realize and understand just how incredibly awesome and powerful this truly is when we take the time to realize those things in our lives that cannot and will not change without and apart from prayer and fasting, and those times we are called to remain in those places of discouragement and frustration as we continue holding on to hope and believe in the person of Jesus Christ to provide for our needs.

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