In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, we read about Jesus healing a boy with a demon. The boy was initially brought to the disciples of Jesus, but they were not able to heal the boy. When the father approaches Jesus, the boy is healed. Matthew 17:18 says, “And Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of him, and the boy was healed instantly” (ESV).
The disciples later approached Jesus in private to ask why they couldn’t drive out the demon. When Jesus responds, He notes their “little faith” (v. 20). In verse 21, we read that this kind of demon only comes out “by prayer and fasting.” That verse is missing in some translations, but it says a lot. Here were the disciples being told that the demon could not be driven out except by prayer and fasting.
The missing verse points out that the disciples were not praying and fasting like they should have been. Their faith was little because they had not spent as much time in prayer with their Father as they needed. Their faith was little because it wasn’t cultivated like it should have been. They were neglectful. Today, look at your prayer life. Are you being neglectful?
“However, this kind does not come out except by prayer and fasting.” – Matthew 17:21 [HCSB]