In India, during the best part of my sermon, a woman started manifesting a demon. Her tongue flicked in and out her mouth, she hissed, and started to sway like a cobra. The whole audience became distracted by the disturbance. I continued to preach and as the translator was repeating my words, I began to pray under my breath, “You foul demon, in the name of Jesus, come out of her.” With a loud screech, the demon left and the woman gave her life to Jesus that night. My fasting and prayer prepared me for this confrontation.
In Nicaragua, a crowd of fifty thousand people filled the field. In the front row, a woman started screaming, her face a grimace of ugliness. I got the attention of my friend Emmanuel and pointed to the lady as if to say, “Take care of it.” He took a running leap off the front of the stage, put his hands on either side of her head and spoke directly to the demon, “Shut up! Shut up in the name of Jesus!” Immediately, the demon was silent. We took the woman around the back of the stage, cast the demons out of her, and led her to Jesus. When she returned to testify she had a beautiful smile on her face. The reason Emmanuel had the boldness to confront the demon is because he had spent time in prayer. He knew the power of Jesus was much greater than the power of any demon.
When Jesus was on top of the Mount of Transfiguration, a man brought his demon-possessed son to the disciples. Because of their lack of faith, they were unable to cast out the demon. When Jesus returned, He cast out the demon and rebuked the disciples. Then He gave them a secret weapon that would help them cast out demonic powers. Jesus said, “This kind [of demon] does not go out except by prayer and fasting” (Matthew 17:21).
Have you heard about the evangelist who misunderstood this instruction? God spoke to him, “I want you to fast and pray.” But, the evangelist thought God said, “I want you to pray fast.” You should have seen him trying to cast out demons. His prayers were faster than lightening. He laid his hands on fifty people in two minutes, spitting a dozen prayers out of his mouth every ten seconds.
Jesus tapped into the power of fasting during his forty day fast. When Jesus finished fasting he “…returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit” (Luke 4:14). No demon was able to resist him. There are some spiritual tasks that can only be accomplished through fasting.
Satan is like a roaring lion, seeking prey to devour. If you pray not, you will be preyed on. Fasting produces the necessary faith to defeat every attack of Satan. Fasting is actually one of the most powerful tools we have available in our spiritual war.
Nevertheless, we can defeat the devil even without fasting because Jesus lives inside of us. A preacher was ministering in Africa and a man in one of his services began to manifest a demon. When the minister tried to cast the demon out, the devil began to mock him, “I’m the type of demon that cometh not out but by fasting and prayer.”
“Oh, no,” thought the man, “I have not fasted recently, I can’t cast out this demon.” He started to feel condemnation for not having fasted.
Then the Holy Spirit rose up inside him and reminded him that believers do nothing from their own strength but only through the grace of God. The preacher spoke to the demon, “You evil spirit, I have not fasted recently, but I know someone who fasted for forty days and nights and in his name, the name of Jesus, I command you to come out.” The demon-possessed man was instantly set free.