This scripture has been used many times to teach that believers must first pray and fast before attempting to cast out demons like Jesus did in V18, but that is not correct. To properly understand Jesus' saying here we need to study the context in which He said it. It was the disciples' lack of faith, as V20 clearly teaches, that enabled the demon to resist them, and Jesus was pointing here to the future ministry of the disciples and their need for faith to perform His work. Such faith only comes by constant contact with the Lord through prayer and fasting, and abiding in His word, but it does not have to be any greater, metaphorically speaking, than a tiny mustard seed for it to work. This is for our admonition too. It stresses the importance of our own Christian walk being one of prayer and fasting and abiding in God's word to do His work. Then it only remains for us to exercise our faith by acting upon His word. We do not have to specifically fast and pray in order to be able to cast out demons - we simply cast them out in Jesus' name by the authority of His word (CP Mk 16:17-18).
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