Volume. XXXii, No. 8
Sunday, 19 August 2018

The Empowered Christian (Mark 9: 14 – 29) – Final

(This edited message was preached by Elder Colin Gan on The Lord’s Day 10 June 2018.)

In Part 1 and Part 2 we firstly reflected on empowerment and disempowerment in the Christian life by looking into the characters involved in this passage. Secondly, we saw that faith is essential for empowerment. Last week we learned that empowerment comes from depending on God in all things. This week we look at the second half of that last point, and the conclusion of the article.

Why are prayer and fasting so important?

Don't fast for the sake of fasting and don’t pray for the sake of praying, for in so doing we feed our pride.  Remember what Jesus taught His Disciples:

In Matthew 6:5-7 on prayer.

(5) And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

(6) But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

(7) But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.

And Matthew 6:16-18 concerning fasting.

(16) Moreover when ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites, of a sad countenance: for they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward.

(17) But thou, when thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy face;

(18) That thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which is in secret: and thy Father, which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly.


So, don't fast for the sake of fasting and don’t pray for the sake of praying, but do both (praying and fasting) when seeking the Lord's help in our lives.

I looked at the preceding verses and chapters to see when Jesus specifically fasted and prayed in order to have the power to cast out such an entrenched evil spirit, but there was nothing specific I could find.  The only conclusion that I could come to was that Jesus was living His earthly life in such a way that He was always in an attitude of prayer and fasting.  This is the same type of attitude we need to foster in ourselves if we are to be empowered Christians.

We will not delve into the specifics of prayer and fasting today as these could be sermons or studies in their own rights.  I will leave this for another time and will only say that genuine prayer and fasting fosters dependence on God.

Jesus reminds us about how we should pray:

Luke 11:2-4

(2) And he said unto them, When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.

(3) Give us day by day our daily bread.

(4) And forgive us our sins; for we also forgive every one that is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation; but deliver us from evil.  

And when Jesus was tempted (after having fasted for forty days and forty nights) how He rebuked the Devil with these words:

Matthew 4:4

(4) But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

In both texts, the dependence on God is obvious.  Praying and fasting is not to pressure or force God to do something for us, neither is God dependent on our prayers and fasting to accomplish His will, but rather, prayer and fasting is for our benefit.  When we come before God in prayer and fasting, we are seeking a dependent relationship with God, as a helpless child before his Father, who happens to be the Almighty God.  Then this loving and gracious Father fulfils His work in us through the empowerment of His Holy Spirit as Paul mentions in ...

Ephesians 3:14-21

(14) For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,

(15) Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named,

(16) That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

(17) That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,

(18) May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height;

(19) And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.

(20) Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us,

(21) Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

From this, we can see that all God’s resources are there for us to live as empowered Christians, if only we will depend on Him for all things.


And so, in conclusion, if we wish to live an empowered Christian life we need to start with whatever faith we have (whether tiny or small) and grow it through humility in Christ and dependence on God, which only genuine prayer and fasting can foster.


More Lively Hope



  • Coupons for Missions Fair are still on sale today at Fellowship Hall. Please support our missions by buying coupons for the Fair.
  • Church Service Roster for Oct-Dec: please let service rosterer know of your availability to serve the Lord in the next quarter by emailing to hopebpcrosterer@gmail.com.
  • Holiday Bible Club volunteers needed. If able to help, please notify Dn John Wong as soon as possible.
  • Please read the insert & pray for God to provide funds for missions & piano.
  • Senior Fellowship Lunch for our seniors on Wed, 29 Aug, at 11:30am. Location: Payathai Restaurant, 1520 Main South Road, Sturt. RSVP Dn Boong Atijatuporn (0405 436 968) by 25 Aug.
  • New Basic Bible Knowledge Class will commence soon. If interested, please inform any Session member ASAP.
  • Lunch Duty: This week: YAF. Next week: Neighbourhood Bible Study Groups.


Praise & Thanksgiving

  • Birth of Noah to Bro Diwei & Sis Amanda Lin (Sat, 11 Aug).
  • God’s daily provision, guidance & protection.
  • Journey mercies: For those who have travelled.



  • God’s comfort in their grief: Sis Siew Ling Teh & family.
  • Health & strength for Sis Amanda Lin & baby Noah.
  • Missions: Rev & Mrs Johnson George (India).
  • Year 12 students as they prepare for exams.
  • God’s provision of funds for our church missions & building extensions.
  • Rev Mathew Abraham’s family affected by the floods (Kerala).
  • Journey mercies: those who are travelling.




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