Friday, July 22, 2022

The Vision (7.22.22): But by prayer and fasting


Image: Close-up scene from "Jesus Curing An Epileptic Boy" in the Armenian Glajor Gospels, early 14th century.

Note: Devotional taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 17:14-21.

Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting (Matthew 17:21).

Last Lord’s Day we meditated on the intercession of a father for a troubled son in Matthew 17:14-21. What spiritual lessons do we learn from this account?

First, we might say we learn something from the pattern here. After being on the mountain of transfiguration and seeing Christ’s glory, the disciples descend and are immediately confronted again with the sin and misery of the fallen world. So too, in our spiritual lives, we too experience times of other-worldly highs, but they are often followed by experiences of our this-world reality.

Second, we learn something here about the power and importance of intercessory prayer. A troubled father pleads with Christ for his only son, tormented by a dumb spirit. For whom would you intercede before Christ?

Third, we learn something here about the power of Christ. He speaks and the child was cured that very hour (v. 18).

Fourth, we learn from the failure of the apostles who could not cure the lad because of their unbelief (v. 20). We are reminded that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).

We learn also from the unbelief of the father who brought his son before Christ, as he prayed, “Lord, I believe, help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

Fifth, we learn here about the power of the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting. Christ exhorts us, as he did the apostles, to exercise these disciplines. In Matthew 7:7-8 Christ exhorted the disciples to ask, seek, and knock. Sadly, too often it is the case that we have not because we ask not.

What is it that deeply troubles you? Have you tried asking in prayer? Have you tried fasting?

There are some kinds that “goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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