28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
When this episode is over and the disciples are alone with Jesus, the nine who failed to deliver the child ask Jesus about why they failed, v. 28. These men were concerned about their spiritual failure, and they should have been! The answer Jesus gave them is both simple and telling. His answer is that these men failed because they lacked spiritual discipline in their lives, v. 29. Prayer is a state of close communion with the Lord. Fasting speaks of a lifestyle of total submission and surrender to the Lord. These men were not communing with God as they should have been. Neither were they as surrendered to God as they should have been. As a result, they lacked the power of God in their lives and they could not cast out this devil.
The disciples did not fail because they did not believe! They believed all right, or they would not have tried to cast out the demon from this child. They believed they could cast out that demon and when they failed, they were humiliated, amazed and dismayed. Their problem was they believed in the wrong things. They failed because their faith was in their words and the rituals they used and not in God. Their faith was in the ritual. Their faith was in what they had done before. Their faith was in themselves. These men failed because they were not leaning on the Lord Jesus Christ for the power they needed.
We fail in the Lord’s work and we lack His power for the very same reasons. We lack the power of God in the modern church because we lack spiritual discipline! We are no longer praying people. We are no longer a surrendered people. We are no longer a people who walk in total dependence upon the Lord Jesus Christ. We have become like the Jews in Acts 19:13-17 who were trying to cast out a demon in Jesus’ name. They had the formula and they had the ritual, but they lacked the power of God to get the job done. That is the state of the modern church! We look back to the glory days and we rest on what the church did then. We think we can have the power of God because we pray a five-minute prayer. We think the fire of Heaven will fall just because we are saved and doing a few religious things in our lives.
The truth is, there will be no power; there will be no glory; there will be no revival in the church until God’s people learn to lean on Jesus and on Him alone for what we need. What do we need? We need to pray – I am referring to prayer that seeks the face and the will of God. I am referring to prayer assaults the throne room of God, refusing to be silenced until the answer comes. I am talking about the church returning to the days of lying on the altars, seeking God and His power. We are commanded to pray, 1 Thes. 5:17; Luke 18:1. He has promised to hear our prayers, Jer. 33:3; Isa. 65:24. He has promised to answer our prayers, Matt. 7:7-11; Mark 11:24; John 14:13-14; 15:7. Genuine, faith-filled praying is the key that will open the door of revival and power for this modern age! We must be surrendered – God cannot bless and use a church that is not separated from the world, 2 Cor. 6:17-7:1. It is God’s will that we place everything we have, are and ever hope to have or be on the altar for His glory, Rom. 12:1-2.
We need to become totally dependent on the Lord for everything. Until we reach the place where we understand that the power of God does not come because of our preaching, our singing, our working or our manipulation of people and things. The power of God rests on us as we learn to rest in Jesus, John 15:5. The cure for what ails the modern church is found in our Lord’s words to the church in Ephesus; we need to fall in love with Jesus once again, Rev. 2:1-7. We do not need new programs. We do not need more powerful personalities. We do not need new buildings, new trinkets, and toys. We do not need to become more “seeker-friendly”. We do not need to change our music or our message. What we need is simple. What we need is available. What we need is the power of God. That power will come when God’s people get serious about seeking His face; walking in His ways and leaning on Him for all we need. It will come then and only then, 2 Chron. 7:14.