Bible Question:

In Mark 9:29 we read, “And He replied to them. This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting. ”? My question is, “Did Jesus fast before He cast out the evil spirit? ”?Can we fast for a thing that is going to happen in the future and then call it down when we need it?

Bible Answer:

Mark 9:25-27 tells us that Jesus had just finished expelling a demon from a boy when the disciples, who were present, asked Jesus why they could not expel the demon (v. 28). Jesus answered their question with this statement.

When He came into the house, His disciples began questioning Him privately, “Why could we not drive it out?” And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.” (NASB) Mark 9:28-29

Jesus’ message is simple. They could not do all the works or miracles that Jesus did. Yes, every true Christian has the Holy Spirit living within, but we cannot perform the miracles that Jesus did. This is an important and often ignored truth. If Jesus’ disciples could not cast out all of the demons just like Jesus did, then who are we that we should assume that we can? We are not greater than the apostles. Jesus did not need to pray to cast out demons. He was God in human flesh, and we are just humans in mortal flesh. We need to pray in order to cast out some demons, but not Jesus!

How should we understand Jesus’ statement in the following passage?

Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do; because I go to the Father. (NASB) John 14:12

The answer is found in the fact that Jesus was drawing a contrast between the works that He did and the future works of the disciples. Jesus’ healing ministry was secondary to His primary ministry. His mission was to die for us. He came for that purpose. Healing was secondary. The greater work was His spiritual ministry. The greater works that He referred to was the conversion of souls. Here is a great statement from Harry Ironside,

But He was not speaking of miracles. His chief work was not performing miracles but revealing the Father, bringing knowledge of the Father. It is that of which He was speaking.[1]

A close examination of the original Greek text reveals that the Greek word for “fasting” does not appear in this passage. A better English translation of the passage does not include the word “fasting.” The disciples had to ask God for help. We need to ask as well. Jesus did not need to ask.


Can we store up prayer and then later call “it down” as if it were put into a bank? The answer is no! Scripture never teaches such a concept. One cannot find that concept in scripture. It is also clear from Jesus’ statement that prayer is performed on an individual basis.


1. H. A. Ironside. John. Kregel. reprint. 2006. p. 347.

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