“The fight of Faith is to believe that what Jesus says about you is true, when everything in the natural says it’s a lie.” – Brook Potter
When Peter, James and John came down from the mount of Transfiguration, they came upon a crowd that had gathered around the other disciples. The scene was that of a Father appealing on behalf of his lunatic son. When Jesus learned that his other disciples couldn’t get the job done, he rebuked them fiercely and asked the boy to be brought to him. Jesus then proceeds to heal the boy. (Matthew 17:14-18)
The disciples came to Jesus afterwards and asked why they could not set the boy free, and Jesus makes a very important statement that we really need to understand if we want to see power in our walk.
Matthew 17:19 – 21 Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye 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. Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Jesus did not say, Lack of Faith, he said because of their Unbelief, then he goes on to explain if you have little faith, without unbelief, you can do great exploits. Faith and Unbelief can coexist, as we saw in the appeal of the father in the parallel account in Mark 9:24. The father of the boy said he had faith but needed help with his unbelief. Therein we see the battle of the Believer, not for more faith, but to rid ourselves of unbelief.
The context of the next verse is that he is still answering their questions as to why they could not perform the miracle. After he points out their unbelief, he gives them the solution.
Matthew 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.
Jesus is not talking about fasting and prayer to get rid of the Lunatic Spirit, because the disciples were already told that they didn’t need to fast (Mark 2:19). Rather, I believe he is talking about getting rid of the Spirit of Unbelief in us, his Disciples. The more fellowship with Jesus Christ, and the more we are aware of his finished work, we learn more and more to trust him and unbelief fades away in his glorious light.