Scripture Reading: Genesis 49:1-50:26 / Matthew 17:14-18:9 / Psalm 15:1-5
As a young 27 year-old pastor, I was called by a father and asked if I would visit and pray for his 30 year-old son. When I got to their house, the son told me he had a “demon” and wanted me to help him. I talked to him trying to ascertain if he really was demon possessed and concluded that he indeed did have some demonic activity going on inside of him.
The father left the room and I began to pray for his son. I put my hand on his head and began to pray, taking authority over the demonic power by Christ’s blood and in the name of Jesus. Within a few minutes, the son pulled away from me and said it (the prayer) was not working. After several more attempts, seemingly to no avail, I asked him to go to the other room and give me some time alone to pray.
I took 15 minutes and poured out my frustration and desperation to God. I was doing and saying all the right things but it was ineffective. During that time, God told me the exact approach to take so when the son returned we started to pray again. I placed my hand on his head and began to pray in “The Spirit”. Immediately he began to react by pulling away but I held on tighter and after a few minutes, he collapsed on the floor and remained still. Within a minute, he defiantly rose up but as I continued to pray, he collapsed again. This occurred multiple times for about an hour and finally, the demonic spirit was gone and he was free.
That was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life and it came not because I was spiritually powerful, effective or knowledgeable. I had come against the satanic powers of hell, thinking I knew what to do but discovered that I needed God’s power, intervention and direction more than anytime in my life. That night wasn’t about me…it was about a man who needed God to powerfully free him.
A father had a son tortured by a demon and told Jesus, “I brought him to your disciples, but they could not heal him.” (Matthew 17:16) Jesus rebuked the demon and the son was freed and healed. The disciples questioned Jesus later, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” (v.19) Jesus told them it was an issue of faith and the gospel of Mark adds, “But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting.”
The amount of faith is not as important, even the smallest is enough, as much as the direction and depth of our faith. A persistent, childlike, never-give-up faith in a mighty God is the kind that is needed. Desperate times call for desperate measures… there is a devil, he orchestrates great difficulties and we need spiritual power and discipline. There are times in life when we need to dig deeper and cry out longer in order to defeat the enemy. Extended times in prayer and fasting are required…we cannot assume the faith of yesterday is sufficient for today. He is faithful to us and will display His power in our lives. Sometimes it takes a little bit more time, prayer and fasting but…. ”Nothing will be impossible for you.” (v.20)