Creflo Dollar - Why Should We Engage in Prayer and Fasting?
Why should we engage in prayer and fasting? Now, prayer and fasting doesn't move the devil and it doesn't move God. Now, listen to me. Prayer and fasting doesn't move the devil and it doesn't move God. God has already given the disciples all the power they need on heaven and earth. So those are some very strong comments at the very beginning of this. So I wanna start off in Matthew chapter 17, verse 14 through 21. And I think by starting here, we can go and revisit just those first two comments that I made and I think you'll understand it a lot better.
All right, verse 14, Matthew 17, verse 14: "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying," so he's approaching the disciples. And verse 15 said, he said, "Lord, have mercy on my son: for he's a lunatic, and sore vexed". He says, "Oftentimes he falleth into the fire, and often into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him". Think of that. He said, "I brought him to the disciples and they could not cure him". "Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me".
So he brought him to the disciples and the disciples looked at this condition he was in and I'm sure that affected their faith because of what they saw and, you know, Jesus is now addressing that, "O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? How long shall I suffer you? Bring him hither to me". And verse 18: "And Jesus rebuked the devil". Now that's interesting. The condition that this young boy had, Jesus went right to the source and he rebuke the devil. Pause for a moment. When was the last time you rebuked the devil? You know you have that authority? Matthew chapter 10 says, the Bible says to cast out devils, rebuke the devil. Some of you just let him just have his way. And you have the authority to rebuke him. I like to define the word "rebuke" like this: "Stop; no more". That's what it means.
And some of you need to use your authority to say to the devil, "Stop; no more". When you see situations going on in your life with your children, with your finances, in your physical body, rebuke the devil: "Stop. No more". Now, so Jesus did that and you know what happened. "And he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart," after all this was over with, "and they said, Why could we not cast him out"? At least they asked. They're sitting there, "We saw what you did. That was amazing. Why could we not cast him out"?
And some of you may be in the same situation. "I don't understand why I couldn't do this particular thing". "And Jesus said unto them," he answers them right away, "Because of your unbelief". He said the issue here is an issue of unbelief. "Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting".
Now the issue is when he said, "This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting". Most Christians immediately will say here that he's referring to the demon. He is not referring to the demon. The demon wasn't the issue. Unbelief was the issue. "How come we couldn't cast him out"? He said, "Because of your unbelief". But this kind of unbelief is not gonna be dealt with except by prayer and fasting. Now, when you interpret this as referring to the demon rather than the unbelief, then I can see you right now. "Oh, I can't cast that devil out. I've gotta go fast and pray before I can cast it out". Well, I mean, how about if you're in a situation you don't know, you go show up. And you ain't got time to go fast and pray? He not talkin' about the demon. He's talking about unbelief. This kind of unbelief doesn't go out except by prayer and fasting.
The solution to this kind of unbelief, which was the problem, the problem, the reason why you disciples couldn't do this was because of your unbelief. And the only way to deal with your unbelief is by prayer and fasting. "And while they abode Gentiles, the Son of man shall be betrayed". So here's the part I want you to see. I thought all my life, man, there are some people that cast out devils because they pray and they fast. And that's not what he was referring to. He was referring to the unbelief, not the devil. Now, let's go back to that first statement I made. Prayer and fasting doesn't move the devil. And prayer and fasting doesn't move God.
And so, a lot of people, they pray and they fast, "Man, surely if we pray and fast for 50 days we can move God". No, God's already moved. See, God has already given the disciples all power in heaven and in earth. They had all power in heaven and in earth over the devil. Look at Luke chapter 10 to verify this statement. Now, remember, don't hold on to the tradition of how you believed and what you thought about prayer and fasting 'cause if you do, you gonna miss a great opportunity to be delivered. If you holding on to, "Well, that ain't how I heard it, and that's not how I was taught," well, that's just what it is. You've gotta learn how to rightly divide the word and understand what he's saying here. The devil was not the topic here. The unbelief was the topic here.
Look what he said in Luke 10:19. He said, "Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you". So you see the word "power" twice. The first word "power" was, "I give unto you authority to have absolutely mastery over serpents and scorpions, and I give you authority over all of the ability of the enemy". So the disciples already had authority over the enemy. They didn't need to fast for it. All they needed to do was believe it and receive it and exercise it. You don't have to fast for more authority over the demon. He'd already given you authority over all of the ability of the devil and nothing will by in any means hurt you, okay? And so that was certainly not the case.
So we must learn how to release what God has already given us, versus trying to get God to do and to give us more, trying to get God to do, you know, what he's already done. We've got to learn how to release what God has already given us. God's already given us power and authority. We gotta learn how to do that, versus trying to get God to give us more. And we're trying to get, you hear that a lot in church. "More, God. More, God. More. More, God, more of you". They sing songs, "More, more, more". He's already given you all you gonna need. And so we gotta learn how to believe that. So when God calls us and when God called us, whatever he called you to, he gave us all the anointing we're ever gonna get.
Man, I had to learn this the hard way. I used to spend time on the weekends, I mean, shucking the corn, man. On my face, spitting all on the floor, praying and all that, because I was trying to get God to give me more anointing. And I remember when I got choked up, he says, "I've already anointed you". In other words, what you are in this room trying to get me to do, I've already done it. You've got all you're gonna ever get. So you need to learn how to believe it and you need to learn how to use it. Well, what fasting and prayer does, it affects your senses. Fasting and prayer affects your senses to bring them into line so that, for example, when you see a boy falling on the ground like the disciples, they saw him falling on the ground and spitting up and all that stuff, and they saw him wallowing and foaming, he says, "What will happen is you don't immediately think, 'It didn't work. God didn't heal him.'"
See, fasting and prayer works on your souls and senses so you won't go by what you saw. So when you fast and pray, it's to get your mind and your soul in line with the Word regardless of your senses, regardless of what you see. That boy foaming at the mouth on the ground won't move you because you believe that what I just released my authority for will happen. Now, if you've got a problem believing that, he says you need to fast and pray 'cause fasting will correct your unbelief. Fasting will cause your senses to begin to line up with the Word of God, literally. So you've brought your senses, when you fast and pray, you bring them into subjection so they'll respond to your spirit, and your spirit dictates to them instead of them dictating to your spirit.
Your spirit now begins to talk to your senses and say, "Don't be moved by what you see. Don't be moved by what you hear. Only be moved by what you believe". Now, fasting and prayer, if you find that you are being moved by what you see, and that boy falling on the ground and foaming at the mouth and you're, like, "Wait a minute. Now, I believe that that devil came out and I believe that what I said was, but now, you know, it sure don't look like it". No, fasting and praying will cause your spirit to bring your senses into subjection to it. And so your spirit starts dictating to your senses, rather than your senses dictating to your spirit. Hoo, boy, amen.
So you don't use fasting to change God. God's already moved by grace. We don't have to move him. God's already moved. "Well, our church is fasting for 60 days". Well, why? "'Cause we're gonna move God". Well, he's already moved. Your fasting's not gonna move God. God's already decided to do what he's done and he's already done it. And so in the church we've been kind of accustomed to saying, "I'm fasting and praying so I can move God". God's already moved. Well, when did he move? He moved 2,000 years ago. He's already moved.
So fasting and praying will not move God because God's already moved. It's ourselves that we're moving by fasting and praying. It's ourselves that we're moving by fasting and praying. I'm moving myself from unbelief to belief. I'm moving myself from my senses to spirit. I'm moving myself from that place of, oh, doubt to that place of complete faith. And when you're having issues in your mind and in your soul with believing God, you need to go on a fast. See, if God isn't on your... on our side by what Jesus did, our fasting and praying is going to add the finished touch to that. We need to...we need to...well, it's not going to add the finished touch to that. Let me say that again. I wanna make sure you didn't misunderstand this. If God isn't on our side by what Jesus did, see, God's on my side because of what Jesus did. God is on my side and God's got my back because of what Jesus did.
See, if he's not on your side because of what Jesus did, fasting and prayer is not going to add, you know, the finished touch to that. God's on my side 'cause of what Jesus did. God's not on my side 'cause I decide to fast for three days. God's on my side before I decide to fast. God's on my side and fasting's not gonna put the finishing touches to that. I believe what Jesus did. That's why God's on my side. You see what I'm saying? See, we need to fast because of carnality, not to move God. The word "carnality," the root word there is carnal and it literally means of the senses, of the five senses that we have.
And so what happens, you're fasting because of carnality. You're fasting because you are allowing your senses to govern your life. And the way to get delivered from carnality is by fasting and praying. And that fasting and praying is moving you. How? Moving you in a position where you're lining up with God. Moving you in a position where you're believing the finished works of Jesus. Glory be to God. And so, we can look at our lives and see areas of carnality where our body and our senses have been dictating to us. Yeah, you can look at your life and see where your body and your senses have been dictating to you. You don't believe me?
Look at your gut. Look at your gut. Your gut is pure evidence that your body and your senses have been talking to you and have been dictating to you. So if you can't control your eating, you're also having trouble when you try to release your faith. I ain't trying to mess with you and your hamburger, but that is the truth. If you cannot control your eating, somehow that area where you lack control is gonna translate over into another area, okay, of your life. I had to realize this. I was the original cookie monster and I found these oatmeal raisin cookies at Whole Foods and they were real big and they were soft and, oh, and they were hot. It was just, oh, it was just so.
So I started eating 'em. And then I found that my body would talk to me every time I'd land in New York, "Go by Whole Foods and get them cookies in". And then I realized wherever there was a Whole Food and you can get them cookies, and I'd go to get them cookies and my body was dictating to me. And I'm talking and I, really, I became addicted to oatmeal cookies. And I thought, "Wow, somebody just laugh about that, but it's like how am I gonna overcome in spiritual matters and I can't even overcome a oatmeal cookie"? That is so close to something called idolatry. Idolatry is where you replace God or you move God out of first place in your life and you put something else in that place. And it's not really the issue of... somebody asked me one time, "Well, you know, is smoking weed wrong? Is doing this wrong? Or doing that"? And my answer was, "God's desire is for you not to be enslaved by anything".
And think about that. You're the one with the free moral agency. You've got a right to choose. And you've turned a part of your life over to be enslaved by something or someone. Something or someone? And here I am, man of faith, and I am a slave to a cookie. It doesn't sound like a serious deal, a cookie, but it gets real serious now when that cookie goes down here and now, all of a sudden, you know, you're enslaved into your anger and you're enslaved to, you know, losing it here and losing it there and you're enslaved to self-centeredness. And all of that was able to happen because you would not take authority over the cookie. Oh, I realized I had power. I'm gonna fast and pray that I can say "No" to the cookie.
And that began my journey of health and fitness. It's like I can take care of this. I can do this. I don't have to be the person in my generation, in my family, to die, you know, when I was 55, when I turned 55, I, you know, it was a really weird day for me because I knew a lot of people in my family that died around that age, 55. And I took authority that day. And I went on a fast. And I prayed. And I took authority over my senses dictating to me about things they should not be dictating to me about.
So if, for example, let me use this as an example. So let's say, for example, you pray for healing and you still feel the pain and your body says to you, "I must not be healed". Well, I experienced that, you know? When the doctor diagnosed me with cancer, and I prayed for healing and I still felt certain things, I'm like, "Well, I must not be healed". I couldn't pay any attention to that's my body talking to me. That's my senses talking to me. I must not be healed, based on what? Based on the last report? Based on the last test? No, no, I would not change what I believed. I'm not gonna do it. I don't care what it looks like, I don't care what the report says. I'm not gonna do it. And that's why it became a fight. And I made my mind up.
See, if I don't get that under control, I'm gonna be dead somewhere. The Word of God works, I know. I'm not walking around fearful that the Word won't work. I gotta be careful not to let my body take control of something. And so, then, you say, "Body". You speak to your body. I did. I told it to shut up. And I'm gonna believe God. And the body says, "You can't tell me to shut up. You don't control me in any other area". And I said, "Okay, here what we're gonna do. You ain't gonna eat till you shut up". Yeah, that's where that fasting and prayer come. "Yeah, you ain't eatin' nothin' until you shut up". After about a meal or two, my body, "Okay, all right, you're healed". That's what this is for. And we've gotta put it in the right place. The body says, you know, "I'll throw a fit, and then I'll," you know, if you're a kid. "I'll throw a fit and I'll get what I want".
See, our bodies are the exact same way. How can we expect them to reject what they feel and operate in faith when they have never ever been taught to reject anything? And we've got to do that. Our bodies have been indulged and we just say yes to everything. Yes to the cookie, yes to the adultery, yes to the lying. You see where it starts? And until you give the uncomfortable feeling, 'till you give the uncomfortable feeling to your body that says, "Uh-uh, it's not happening". You know, just 'cause temptation come, doesn't mean you've gotta say "Yes" to it. The grace of God will teach you how to say, "No," and to live a godly life. If it wants something, then you just, you know, "Well, I'm gonna feed it what it wants". "Well, I need some me time. Well, you know, I, and this is just my truth and I'm gonna do what I feel like it 'cause you know you only go around once".
Yeah, you tell yourself all that. And all you're doing is opening the door up for that, just graduate from one place. It'll go from the cookie, you know, to the cocaine because you don't understand that you have a very powerful, powerful something you can turn to called prayer and fasting. And help to deliver you out of that situation. I mean, if you do that, I guarantee that your body will dictate, you know, won't dictate to you the things that it used to dictate to you because you know about fasting and prayer and you know the power that comes when you begin to fast and you begin to pray.