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by Dr. R. L. Hymers, Jr.

A sermon preached at the Baptist Tabernacle of Los Angeles
Saturday Evening, August 11, 2018

“This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).

I draw your attention to these words in the ninth chapter of Mark. The Disciples were confronted by a demon possessed boy. They tried to cast the demon out, but they could not do it. Then Jesus came and cast out the demon. The Disciples asked Him, “Why could not we cast him out?” (Mark 9:28). Jesus said, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

Now you will notice in most modern Bibles that there is a note on verse 29. It is in the center note of the Scofield Bible. It says, “The two best manuscripts omit [leave out] ‘and fasting.’” This is based on the Sinaiticus manuscript. The critics called it “the best” because it was the oldest complete manuscript, although there are older copies of individual New Testament books. The critics’ theory is “the oldest is the best.” Then too, their theory says that the shortest is the best. The shortest is the best, and the oldest is the best. They like the oldest manuscript with the shortest “sentences.” But I question that! What if the oldest is really the worst? My wife and I were inside Saint Catherine’s Monastery where the critic found the Sinaiticus manuscript. He found it in some rubble, where it had been thrown to be cast out with the garbage. It was tossed there because the monks themselves thought it was an inferior manuscript. The critic “borrowed” it. Which means he actually stole it. The critic Tischendorf took the manuscript to Russia. He advertised it as a “great” discovery. Stalin sold it to the British Museum because he needed money. Later my wife and I saw that manuscript in the British Museum. Foolish men swallowed the critics’ theory. That flawed manuscript has caused great weakness in the churches today.

I am not a Ruckmanite. I do not argue over every single change in the modern translations. But I will argue over this one till the stars fall from Heaven. Here are my reasons for keeping the words, “This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.”

1.  If you take out “and fasting” the verse makes no sense. The Disciples had cast out demons before (Luke 9:1; 10:17). They had prayed and cast out demons in Jesus’ name several times. But they failed here because “this kind” needed something more than just praying. “This kind” needed “prayer and fasting.” It is obvious that something more was needed!

2.  If you are a Bible student and think about the words “this kind” you will automatically remember Ephesians 6. In Ephesians 6:11-18 several “kinds” or classes of demons are given, “principalities,” “powers,” “rulers of the darkness of this world,” “spiritual wickedness in high places.” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones pointed out that these “kinds” of demons are progressively stronger. The Disciples had been able to cast out lesser demons by prayer alone.
      Dr. Thomas Hale was a missionary who actually cast out demons in Nepal. Thus he gives us an insight unknown to American “scholars” – who know nothing about casting out demons. Dr. Hale said, “In some situations it is necessary to fast in order to receive our request from God. Many Christians have experienced greater results from prayer – more power, more guidance – when they have fasted” (Thomas Hale, M.D., The Applied New Testament Commentary; note on Mark 9:29).

3.  I have found that to be true in my own sixty years in the ministry. I had prayed for my mother to be saved for over 35 years. She was a hopelessly lost alcoholic. Then one day I was preaching in some churches in New York. I was fasting and praying for God to bless the preaching that night. I had fasted and prayed for the service nearly all day. Suddenly I thought about my poor, lost mother. I prayed for her. I had prayed for her many times, but not with fasting. After I prayed for her to be saved God spoke to my heart. He said, “Your mother will be saved now.” I asked Dr. Cagan to go where Mother was and lead her to Christ. She was powerfully converted. She never took another drink and never smoked another cigarette. I had prayed for her for years, but the first time I prayed for her with fasting, she was converted!
      I will give you another experience I had. My family was with me at a great Bible conference back east. At the last minute I was told to preach the closing sermon at the conference. I didn’t have a sermon with me that seemed appropriate. I only had a very simple evangelistic sermon with me. A young man who attended the church told me, “Whatever you do, don’t preach an evangelistic sermon. The pastor does that every Sunday. Everyone in the church is already saved and no one will respond. So don’t preach an evangelistic sermon, whatever you do!”
      Many of the greatest preachers in America were there, and all I had with me was a simple evangelistic sermon. No one would come forward and I would be totally embarrassed in front of all those famous preachers! I became very fearful. I asked my wife to take our boys to see some sights. I locked myself in our motel room for several hours that afternoon. I fasted and prayed all afternoon but God kept telling me to preach my simple sermon on “Why will ye die?” (Ezekiel 33:11). Suddenly as I entered the church I felt peaceful. Even though all those famous preachers were watching me, and I was sweating and afraid, I preached my little evangelistic sermon on “Why will ye die?” As soon as I read the text I sensed the power of God come down. I preached with all the strength I had. Then I gave the invitation.
      The service went on for three more hours, after I gave the invitation. About sixty people came forward to be saved. One of them was the pastor’s own son – who was the assistant pastor of the church!
      The services went on for several days. Three hundred people were hopefully saved – in 12 days! Over four hundred people were hopefully saved before the pastor finally closed the meetings! Later I remembered that I had fasted and prayed all afternoon before the first of those meetings – with an intensity I had never had before. That’s how I know

“This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting” (Mark 9:29).

That’s how I know, by experience, that the Devil himself removed “and fasting” from that old hand-copied manuscript in St. Catherine’s Monastery. The Devil knows that fasting and prayer can be used to overcome him. That is why the Devil does not want you to fast and pray. And that’s one of the reasons “and fasting” is removed from all modern Bibles. The Devil took it out!

Dr. John R. Rice said,

Fasting means putting God first...How could a Christian ever know that God is first in his life if he never fasts and prays?... One can run a race better if he has not eaten beforehand. Public speakers and singers do not eat in the evening until after their public appearances. Then why cannot a Christian pray better when all his energies are given to that one thing? (John R. Rice, D.D., Prayer, Asking and Receiving, pp. 217-218).

Tomorrow morning Brother John Cagan will preach on fasting and prayer. God called John to preach while he was fasting and praying. John is a mighty man of prayer. The power of his preaching often comes from fasting and prayer. Be sure to come tomorrow morning to hear John preach on fasting and prayer! Please stand and sing hymn number four.

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray; This is my heart cry, day unto day;
I long to know Thy will and Thy way; Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.

Power in prayer, Lord, power in prayer, Here ‘mid earth’s sin and sorrow and care;
Men lost and dying, souls in despair; O give me power, power in prayer!

Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray; Thou art my Pattern, day unto day;
Thou art my Surety, now and for aye; Teach me to pray, Lord, teach me to pray.
   (“Teach Me to Pray” by Albert S. Reitz, 1879-1966).

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Solo Sung Before the Sermon by Mr. Benjamin Kincaid Griffith:
“Teach Me to Pray” (by Albert S. Reitz, 1879-1966).