Creflo Dollar - Why Pray And Fast?
And so if you have your Bibles, go with me to the book of Matthew chapter 17 and verse 14. Matthew chapter 17 and verse 14. And we're gonna begin to look at this issue of fasting and prayer and doing it under the covenant of grace. And I guess if you wanted to give this another title, why fast and pray, and this is so very important. Matthew chapter 17, I'm gonna read verse 14 through 21, and this is our text, and we'll just spend time here. Verse 14 says: "And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man kneeling down to him and saying". Go to the next verse. "Lord have mercy on my son". Now, this is a guy coming, he was coming on behalf of his son. "For he is a lunatic sore vexed for oftentimes he falleth into the fire and oftentime into the water. And I brought him to thy disciples", now watch this, "and they could not cure him".
So man says, I got a son with a problem, I brought him to your disciples, 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". And verse 18. "Jesus rebuked the devil, and he departed out of him". So notice Jesus rebuked the devil, so he's crediting this boy's physical situation to a demonic presence. And it says: "He rebuked the devil, he departed out of him, and the child was cured from that very hour". Now, verse 20. "Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out"? That's a big question, we're gonna deal with that. "Why could we not cast him out"? "And Jesus said unto them", and I love this, he answered it, "Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, if you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain remove hence to yonder place, and it shall remove and nothing shall be impossible unto you". Verse 21. "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting".
This kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting. Now, there's a lot of things going on in this, and I'm gonna see if we can get to most of it. But very simply put, there is a kid that he's sick, he's casting himself into fire and Jesus knew, in fact in another verse of scripture, he asked him, how long has this condition been on him, and Jesus knew that there was a demon behind this. They tried to take the kid to the disciples, and the disciples should have been able to handle this situation. There was no way that they should not have been able to handle this situation. So when Jesus came in and handled the situation, and the boy was cured, he cast the demon out, the boy was cured. You better get used to kind of hearing that cast the demon out.
I have never seen so many people under so much demonic influence ever on the planet. Demonic influence like you've never seen. And then I'm gonna kind of break this down tonight so you can look at this, but in verse 19, look at this. Matthew 19, and this is where I wanna start. I wanna start with this question, why could we not cast him out? Why could we not cast him out? I don't know if you've ever had situations where the Word of God said that you were supposed to be able to do some things, and then you proceeded to attempt to do it, and it didn't work. Why didn't it work? Why could we not cast it out?
Now, there's a couple of reasons why this is a pretty interesting question. First of all, in Matthew chapter 10 and 1, turn there, they should have been able to cast him out, because in Matthew 10 and 1, the power was given to them to cast them out. You remember what he said? Verse 1 he says: "And when he had called unto him, his twelve disciples," what did he do with them? He gave them power against what? Unclean spirits, to do what? To cast them out. And to what? "And to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease". So, you know, did Jesus not equip them with what they needed in order to get the job done? He absolutely did, you see it right here in verse 10. But not only do you see Jesus giving them the power to be able to carry this out, if you'll look in Mark chapter 6:13, we see the disciples having prior success in this area. In other words, we see them actually doing it.
So it's not like they didn't have experience at casting out demons, they had experience, look at verse 13. He says: "And they cast out many devils and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them". So it's not like this was the first time. So what was different about this situation versus the many devils that they had casted out previously, and the many people that they had gotten healed previously, and yet they couldn't do it with this little boy? Well, now here's another question. You know, Jesus answered that question. How come we couldn't cast him out? I showed you, they should have been able to do this. They should have been able to do this based on their previous and prior success in this area. And then Jesus answers the question. He says: "Because of your unbelief".
Now, I need to spend a little time kind of talking about unbelief, because when I say that, you know, people just kind of, it becomes real a real general thought. Well, yeah, I didn't believe. Now, I wanna make sure you understand what he said, and we're looking at verse 20 here. Matthew 17 verse 20. He says because of your unbelief, that's why it didn't happen. Now, when he said because of your unbelief, it wasn't saying you didn't have faith. Jesus said, the reason why this didn't work, it was because of the presence of unbelief, not the lack of faith. This is important. It was not because... he didn't say you didn't have faith, he just said unbelief was present. And so it's not the absence of faith, but it's the presence of unbelief. And that happens a lot of times in our lives, things are not happening, the reason is not because we don't have faith, the reason is, is because we have unbelief. unbelief has come in.
Now, somebody says, well, wait a minute. You either gonna have faith or you're gonna have unbelief, not necessarily so, not according to the Bible. According to the Bible, you can have the presence of faith and unbelief at the same time. Look at what this guy said to Jesus in Mark chapter 9 and verse 23 and 24. Faith and unbelief at the same time, and when he said it to Jesus, Jesus didn't rebuke him or correct him. Here's a situation, this very situation in another book where he's dealing with the one we're talking about now by a cat getting his son cured and casting the devil out of him. "Jesus said unto him, if thou canst believe all things are possible to him that believeth" all right, and then the next verse says: "And straightway the father of the child cried out and said with tears, Lord, I believe, but help my unbelief".
I believe, but help my unbelief. Can anybody relate to that? The fact I believe, but there's a presence of unbelief here. I believe that God's a healer, but there's the presence of unbelief here and one of the things you gotta do, you got to deal with the unbelief. You can have faith and unbelief there at the same time, but if this thing's gonna work, you gotta deal with the unbelief piece, okay? There are lots of things you believe God for. There lots things you know God can do. There's those things you've seen God do. You've seen God deliver you, you've seen God heal you, you've seen God comfort you. But for some reason, there's the presence of unbelief. When unbelief is present, then it's because of that unbelief that's there that may be causing those things to be short circuited. Well, how do I know that unbelief is present with me? I mean, that's a question we gotta ask, and we've got to answer. How do I know when unbelief is present in my life and when I'm operating in unbelief.
When you give attention to fear, worry, and care with your thought life. If you find yourself giving attention to fear, worry, and care, that should be an indication that unbelief is present with you. Unbelief is present with you. Now you think about that. You believe that God can heal and deliver, but the presence of fear is there. And you know what fear is? Fear is actually in the life of a believer, the number one fear is, I don't believe what was promised, okay. So when fear is present, when worry is present, worry is negative meditation on the wrong thing, okay? And then when there's care, you're carrying the care instead of casting the care. That is a clear indication in your thought life that unbelief is present.
And one of the things you gotta understand, James chapter 1, verse 7 and 8, remember what he says, you know, there's a problem when you got faith trying to work and you got unbelief there, and it's almost like you got two minds, all right. And you're not gonna be able to receive things from God, double minded, you're gonna have a, you gotta have a single mind on certain things. You gotta have a single mind on certain things. I tell you, last week I was out of town, and I sat down and I made my mind up, wait a minute in the name of Jesus, I am a believer, I operate in the supernatural, and I settle this right now in the name of Jesus. What was I doing? I was getting rid of the presence of unbelief. Hallelujah. I was getting rid of the presence. I just made my mind up and I'm gonna wait until I can get some evidence of it and then I'll share with you, you know, what I was going through and then kind of show you the paperwork. But it was when I made my mind up, that I'm not gonna allow unbelief to remain. You got to know when it's there.
Well, James 1 says: "For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord". What man? A double minded man, a man with two minds. He says a double minded man is what? Unstable in all of his ways. So if you're gonna receive from God, single mindedness has got to be achieved, and you gotta deal with the thing that's kind of bringing up that second mind, but you're not gonna be able to have them at the same time. Unbelief comes through your thought process. Unbelief comes through your thought process. The contrary thought brings with it unbelief. You get in the Word, you believe the word, then the contrary thought brings with it unbelief. So if you're gonna monitor unbelief in your life, you gonna have to monitor the contradictions in your mind and your thoughts, according to the Word. You got your mindset in the Word of God, and there's this contradiction that comes with the contradiction comes the unbelief. And you've got to cast that down, and you gotta stay solid on this thing. You gotta stay solid on it.
Now let's go back again to verse 21, Matthew 17:21, and let's deal with this question, you know, and this is so important. And I'm gonna say some very, not really, hard things, but things that I really want you to think about. I don't want you to settle for religion. I don't want you to settle for a religious teaching on something. It's time to dig deep and it's time to get the preciseness of what God is saying instead of a religious general view of something. And in verse 20, he gave him the answer, why could we not cast him out? He says because of your unbelief. Your unbelief. But then he says something. He says this kind: "Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting".
Now, here's what the church has done. We assume that he was talking about this kind of demon because that's what was being, and if you're not careful, you'll assume that when Jesus said: "This kind cometh not out, but through prayer and fasting". And religion, all my life since I've been saved, they were referring to this kind of demon won't come out unless you pray and fast. And so you got people going around, well, I got to fast and pray because this kind of demon. Well, what if I'm not expecting to bump up to this kind of demon and didn't have time to fast and pray? We have authority over demons. I mean, you just, you saw Matthew chapter 10:1 he's already given you authority over demons. If I got to fast and pray to have authority over demons, then it's not the finished works of Jesus and it's not based in grace, it's something that I'm having to earn.
So, look at it very carefully. He said the reason why it didn't work was because of your unbelief, and he says this kind of unbelief can only be dealt with through prayer and fasting. Not this kind of demon, he wasn't talking about the demon, he was talking about your unbelief. So he says fasting is dealing with your unbelief. Fasting, prayer and fasting is a weapon to deal with the fear, the worry, and the care that comes in your thought life and when you fast and pray, you are dealing with that kind of unbelief that stops you from being successful. Are you listening to what I'm saying? And each of us have had times, I believe God for the job, but I just don't know. You need to go on a fast. I believe God can heal me, but I got the presence of unbelief. You need to go on a fast.
Why am I going on a fast? I am getting rid of unbelief. This kind goeth not accept unbelief. Disciple says, "How come we didn't do it"? He says, you sat there and you looked at that boy foaming at the mouth. You're looking at him having a fit on the floor and you can't get that out your mind and that invited with it the contrary thought, 'cause you had prayed and did all like you did several times, and he looked like he had died. And you can't get that out your mind right now. And Jesus said: "How long do I have to be with you"? "You're still walking in unbelief". "How long do I have to be with y'all before you just believe what I say"? "So I won't tell you why it didn't happen, 'cause of your unbelief and you're not gonna be able to get it to happen unless you deal with your unbelief, and this is how you deal with your unbelief through prayer and fasting," amen?
All right now, now listen to this, Luke chapter 10:19. See, think about some of these things I'm getting ready to say. God has already given the disciples all power in heaven and earth. Luke 10:19. He's already given. He says: "Behold, I give unto you" what? Power to tread on what? Serpents and scorpions and over what? "All the power of the enemy and nothing shall by any means hurt you". So you know he wasn't talking about prayer and fasting to deal with the demon, he's already given you everything you need to deal with the demon. We must learn how to release what God has already given us versus trying to get God to give us more. And that's been an attitude behind fasting. We're fasting to try to get God to give us more, and we haven't learned how to release what God has already given us. Release what God has already given you and instead of thinking, I need to go on a fast so God can give me more.
And you can tell people just really not understanding the grace that God has given us. You're fasting and praying for more power. You got all the power you're gonna get. I'm fasting and praying for more Holy Ghost. You got all the Holy Ghost you ever gonna have. Learn how to release what you already have instead of trying to fast to get some more. Fasting and praying is not to get you more, but we seen it like that, right? I'm gonna go on a fast, and I'm gonna pray to get some more anointing.
I mean, I did that when I first got into ministry, boy. I used to spend Saturdays. I'm not gonna eat today, so I can get some extra anointing for tomorrow. I ain't had no extra anointing. I spent time starving myself on these crusades around the country. I fasted extra for that Detroit crusade, and when I got out of there, I was so tired I couldn't see straight. I was tired and hungry. There wasn't no devils being casted out. They were like coming in 'cause I had no strength to fight them. When God called us, he gave us all the anointing we'll ever get. That's what I had to realize. Whatever anointing you have now, God gave it to you, that's all you need, and you're trying to get more. The issue is never, if you're not seeing your anointing, is not 'cause you need some more. Excuse me, it's not 'cause you need some more. You're not using what you have. You're not releasing what you have, okay?
So what fasting and prayer does, what does it do? Fasting and prayer under this covenant of grace in this New Testament is to affect your senses. It's to bring them into line so that, for example, when you see a boy falling on the ground, wallowing and foaming at the mouth, you don't immediately think that it didn't work. That God didn't heal him. So you're fasting and praying to get your senses in line with God's Word. You've brought your senses into subjection. So they'll respond to your spirit.
So you're fasting and praying to get your senses into subjection, so they'll respond to your born again spirit and your spirit now will begin to dictate to your senses, rather than your senses dictating to your spirit. Rather, your spirit's born again, it's ready, it believes God. It doesn't want doubt and unbelief in your senses to tell you no, that can't happen. You want your spirit telling your senses, no, no, no, no, no, this is what's gonna happen. I know you don't feel it, but this is what's gonna happen. So you don't use fasting to change God. I say, I say you don't use fasting to change God. I say, I say, I say you don't use fasting to change God. God has already moved by grace.
Well, somebody said, you know, well, why y'all fasting? Well, we're fasting to move God. He already moved. He already moved. Well, brother, why are you fasting? Well, we're fasting so we can be anointed for the year. Everybody in here if you saved, you done got your anointing. Be anointed. We did all those things, we didn't know any better. I didn't know no better. I was just hungry for power. I was willing to do anything that they told me that would work and I spent years doing stuff, and one day I just sat back and said this ain't working. One day I sat back and I'm thinking a lot of stuff ain't working. You know, I would go in there and I would pray for an hour, and I'm like, why do I not look forward to praying for an hour? I used to dread it. And one time I got up I said, "Lord, I sure ain't looking forward to this". He said, "me neither".
See, Christian people have been lied to a lot. No, no, I won't say necessarily lied to, but we didn't push forward to continue to learn and to continue to mature and continue to grow so we can grow out of the basic understanding, which was most of the time wrong understanding. And so it is ourselves we are moving by fasting and praying, not God. Fasting is designed to move us, not God. Fasting is designed to move you. If God isn't on our side by what Jesus did, our fasting and prayer is not going to add the finish touch. He's on our side because of what Jesus did, not because of our fasting and praying. God is on my side 'cause of what Jesus did, not because of my fasting and prayer.
We need to fast because of carnality, not to move God. We need to fast because of carnality To be carnal, that word literally means of the five senses. It means that you are allowing your sensory mechanisms to govern your life. It means, you know, you are governed by what you can see and smell and feel and touch those things, you know, determine whether a thing is real or not, or it determines whether or not this thing can or cannot happen. We are not to live our lives in the carnality, we're not to live our lives through our sensory mechanism. The just shall live by faith and faith goes against your sensory mechanisms and so we're not to fast because... we need to fast because of our carnality.
I'm fasting so my carnal mind won't keep me from the supernatural. I'm fasting so that my carnal sensory mechanisms won't convince me that this word is not true and that this word won't come to pass, and if I continue to bump into my carnal mind, and I know God is a healer and I know I'm already healed, but my mind said, yeah, but it's hurt, and yeah, but the doctor said that, and yeah, but the internet said that, I need to go on a fast. I need to shut my senses down and say we are believing God's Word, amen?