I was re-reading Mark 9 today, pouring over the story of how the disciples could not cast out a demon in a little boy. The demon had been there since the boy was very little. The father of the boy had brought him to the disciples for help. The boy's symptoms were horrible to say the least. He was filled with an unclean spirit, could not speak, and the when the spirit took control of him, he was thrown to the ground to wail and moan, foaming at the mouth, and grinding his teeth. The spirit often threw him in the fire and sometimes into the water. The father actually told Jesus, "I brought him to Your followers, but they could do nothing with him". He said, "I have run out of options, I have tried everything."
That sort of powerful spirit can only be conquered with much prayer and fasting.
Jesus then said, "Listen up, you no-talking, no-hearing demon. I Myself am ordering you to come out of him now. Come out, and don’t ever come back!" The spirit shrieked and caused the boy to thrash about; then it came out of the boy and left him lying as still as death. Many of those in the crowd whispered that he was dead. But Jesus took the boy by the hand and lifted him to his feet.
He began speaking to me about the little boy whom the disciples could not set free.
Later the disciples asked Jesus why they couldn't cast out the unclean spirit. Jesus said, "That sort of powerful spirit can only be conquered with much prayer and fasting". I love this story because it gives me great hope. It says to me that there is an intimacy through fasting and prayer that crushes disease and breaks chains. Yes! But Jesus flipped my lid today. He began speaking to me about the little boy whom the disciples could not set free. All of the sudden, I began to see that Holy Spirit was challenging me to think of this story on an entirely different level. He said to me, "That boy is a city." I wept. Our cities have often been thrown in the fire, in the water, grinding their teeth, and moaning for relief. If some only come out by prayer and fasting at that level, then the same will be true at every level above it. What is true about bringing freedom to that boy is also true in bring freedom to a city.
Fasting is less about food and more about intimacy and urgency.
I am convinced that fasting is less about food and more about intimacy and urgency. Remember Esther, who finding herself at a pivotal point in history, separated herself to seek God for the salvation of her people. She separated herself for the sake of one moment with her king. Or what about Daniel, who understanding the times he lived in, saw his window of opportunity and sought the Lord with a fervency that led his people out of their captivity.
How can I care about playing church when there is an intimacy that unseats principalities? How can I care about my own personal preferences more than the dream that God has for the earth? I want to run into something from heaven that breaks the chains of a city, that grants freedom to it as a whole, and that infuses it with such a powerful peace that chaos is expelled.
How can I care about playing church when there is an intimacy that unseats principalities?
We have said it, and many more have said it for decades before us, that entire cities will be so dramatically impacted from heaven that their nature will change. They will be so changed that certain aspects of the kingdom will thrive wonderfully there. We will see miracles and signs and wonders like we have never dreamed.
Cities exist for God.
The earth is required to respond at the presence of God. Our intimacy with Him changes us to carry His nature, till Christ be formed in us, till we are literally carrying the atmosphere of heaven here on earth. The truth is, we can see dramatic change at a city level. I would go far as to say this: that cities exist for God. It's true that we as humans are uniquely crafted to carry the glory of God. But it's also true that cities were made for heaven on earth. The infrastructure, the economic system, the educational system, the roads, the media; it all exists to carry heaven. What precedence will we pass on to the next generation? That we lived to build a church, or that we laid our lives down to see our cities saved?