• There are many reasons to fast that are represented in the Bible such as: to mourn, to humble oneself before God, and to focus on praying to God for guidance or preparation.
  • Fasting helps us understand that Jesus is the Bread of Life, who sustains us and supplies our greatest needs.
This following commentary on Mark 9:28-29, is not about demonic possession or a guide to exorcism. The reason this passage of scripture was chosen as a part of this resource on understanding prayer is to point out the spiritual power attached to spiritual disciplines like prayer and fasting. Jesus himself explains to his closest followers that in order to fully exercise the authority and power available for you to tap into from the spiritual realm, it requires something beyond simply saying the right words. At the same time, it's also worthwhile to understand that prayer and fasting are not some magical formula or a power-up like Popeye eating a can of spinach.

Prayer is a posture of the heart, and fasting is a spiritual discipline that strengthens the spiritual aspect of a human by allowing the one who fasts to see a situation more clearly through the lens of the spiritual. If that is difficult to understand, here is a simple way to understand what this means. If someone pushed you on your chest, you most likely would be caught off guard and stumble backward, off balance. You may even fall. Now have a person do that same thing again, only this time you are prepared with one foot behind the other and in a stance ready for the push. This time you will not fall or even become off-balance because you were prepared and in a posture that was ready for what was coming.

The same applies in the spiritual realm. Fasting is a way to give up or temporarily diminish the physical things in our lives that so often scream the loudest and become the most urgent, so that we can instead allow the spiritual things to rise up to their rightful place of importance. We are changing our posture from one that is oblivious to spiritual realities to one that is sober and aware of them. When we fast, and focus on God while fasting, our prayers can almost be empowered by faith. This happens in a way that they cannot be if we are living in a place of total comfort and obliviousness. Fasting is powerful not just for its own sake, but because faith is elevated and because Christ is elevated. That is where the effectiveness of fasting comes from. It's not a diet. It's not a fad. It's not magic. Fasting increases supernatural power because Christ is elevated and placed on the throne where he belongs. Whenever that proper placement and perspective are in place, the flowing of spiritual power is sure to follow. It is not our power, but we have tapped into it because of the right alignment of our hearts and minds in relation to God.

It has been said that fasting acts as a battering ram to smash strongholds or break through barriers that would not be overcome without it.


After Jesus had gone indoors, his disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive (the demon) out?” He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting." Mark 9:28-29
And when you fast, do not look gloomy like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces that their fasting may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. Matthew 6:16
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4
“‘Man shall not live by bread alone,
    but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4


Discipleship and Discipline | Ministry Leadership 273

A practical study on the process of discipleship. Special attention is given to the promotion of Christian disciplines like prayer, fasting, and praise and worship. Special emphasis will be put on the motivations and methods of church discipline.


Jentzen Franklin