The Lord often teaches us when things go wrong. So it was for His first disciples and so it is for us. A valuable lesson on preparation is found right after the Transfiguration. Jesus, Peter, James and John get down from the mountain to find a crowd gathered and Christ’s other disciples in the midst of a dispute.
And He asked the scribes, ‘What are you disputing about with them?’ Then one of the crowd answered and said, ‘Teacher, I brought my son to You, because he has a mute spirit. And wherever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams at the mouth, and gnashes his teeth, and he becomes rigid. So I spoke to Your disciples, that they might cast it out, but they were not able.'” – Mark 9:16-18 (M-Text)
So Jesus, as usual, solved the problem, but the disciples were left wondering as to just why they fell so short.
And after He entered into a house, His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why were we not able to cast it out?’ So He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.'” – Mark 9:28-29 (M-Text)
Opportunities for ministry often come at unexpected times. When they do, it’s important to be ready. Fasting and prayer should not only be something we engage in at a time of great need – though there is nothing wrong with that. It should be a form of preparation for the needs that are yet to come.