HOMILY - on fasting and prayer and fasting

This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting

Blessed Bishop Nikolai Velimirovic

'this kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting' (Mk. 9: 29).

This is the saving precept of the great Physician of the souls of men. It is tested and proven medicine. There is no other medicine for madness. And what is this illness? It is the presence of an evil spirit in a man and its dominating of him, an evil spirit that seeks the total ruin of both the body and soul of the man. The child whom the Lord freed from the evil spirit had been cast by that evil spirit at times into the fire and at times into the water, simply in order to destroy him.

If a man only theorises about God, then he is helpless, utterly helpless, when confronted by an evil spirit. An evil spirit laughs at feeble worldly theorising. But as soon as a man begins to fast and to pray to God, the evil spirit becomes filled with inexpressible fear.

He cannot bear the smell of prayer and fasting. The fresh, divine smell chokes him and weakens him to the point of utter helplessness. In the man who only theorises about faith, there is a great deal of room for the demon. But in the man who gives himself to sincere prayer and fasting, there is only the narrowest space for the demon, and he must flee from such a man.

There is only one medicine against some physical illnesses. But against the greatest spiritual ill/ness, demonic possession, there are two, which must be used together: prayer and fasting.

The apostles and saints fasted and prayed to God, and therefore had power over evil spirits.

0 gracious Jesus, our Healer and Helper against all ills, strengthen us with the power of Thy Holy Spirit, that we may be enabled to follow Thy saving precepts on fasting and prayer, for the sake of our salvation and that of those close to us. To Thee be glory and praise for ever. Amen.

Redeeming the Time

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