The Importance of Fasting – A Comparison of Mark 9:29 in English Bible Translations

MAR 9.17-18 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought to You my son, who has a dumb spirit; And wherever it overtakes him, it tears at him: and he foams, and gnashes with his teeth, and pines away: and I spoke to Your disciples that they should cast it out; and they could not.

MAR 9.28 And when He came into the house, His disciples asked Him privately, Why could we not cast it out?

Mark 9:29 And He said to them, this kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting.

Many versions of the Bible leave out “and fasting”. Yet, it is in the original language and is vitally important for the people of God today.

As some communities in our nation grow in unbelief and welcome paganism within our borders, spiritual warfare also grows. God’s people are feeling this impact, even at times in their own homes.

I can personally attest to an attempted spiritual infiltration in my home, brought in by a guest on more than one occasion who had an unseen attachment. Sometimes those ‘attachments’ attempt to cling unless godly homeowners know how to detach them! Fasting with prayer cleared the air for us very quickly on every occasion needed.

People of God, we must be ready to go the distance, to apply all of the Lord’s teaching to stand strong against the enemy.

Because teaching on fasting is scarce in some halls of faith and is missing from Mark 9:29 in many versions of Scripture, I want to show the reader the difference between English translations below on just that verse.

My resource is BibleGateway.com. It is easy there to compare ALL English versions against each other in one click.

Please know I do not wish to disparage versions that don’t include the reference to fasting, just to make the reader aware that differences do exist among translations which occasionally lose significant meaning in Scripture. Know the tools you have free at your fingertips that can help ensure you understand a verse more completely.

By the way, my personal favorite is Young’s Literal Translation. It is not for everyone as it is written in old English, but it has a reputation for being one of the closest, if not the closest to the original Hebrew and Greek. Another powerful tool I use for research is a Kindle version of the King James which includes links to Strong’s Bible dictionaries. There are few better ways to see original language than to have those links at your fingertips. I wish publishers would come out with more Kindle versions with links to Strong’s. Having those links to original language helps make us more bullet-proof against misinterpretations.

Mark 9:29 in all English Translations from BibleGateway.com: https://www.biblegateway.com/verse/en/Mark%209:29

All translations including ‘fasting’ in bold. Translation references at bottom.

KJ21
And He said unto them, “This kind can come forth by nothing but by prayer and fasting.”
ASV
And he said unto them, This kind can come out by nothing, save by prayer.
AMP
He replied to them, “This kind [of unclean spirit] cannot come out by anything but prayer [to the Father].”
AMPC
And He replied to them, This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.
BRG
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
CSB
And he told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer.”
CEB
Jesus answered, “Throwing this kind of spirit out requires prayer.”
CJB
He said to them “This is the kind of spirit that can be driven out only by prayer.”
CEV
Jesus answered, “Only prayer can force out that kind of demon.”
DARBY
And he said to them, This kind can go out by nothing but by prayer and fasting.
DLNT
And He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing except by prayer”.
DRA
And departing from thence, they passed through Galilee, and he would not that any man should know it.
ERV
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can be forced out only with prayer.”
EHV
He said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out, except by prayer and fasting.”
ESV
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
ESVUK
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
EXB
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.”
GNV
And he said unto them, This kind can by no other means come forth, but by prayer and fasting.
GW
He told them, “This kind of spirit can be forced out only by prayer.”
GNT
“Only prayer can drive this kind out,” answered Jesus; “nothing else can.”
HCSB
And He told them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer [and fasting].”
ICB
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.”
ISV
He told them, “This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting.”
PHILLIPS
“Nothing can drive out this kind of thing except prayer,” replied Jesus.
JUB
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
KJV
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
AKJV
And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.
LEB
And he said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing except by prayer.”
TLB
Jesus replied, “Cases like this require prayer.”
MSG
He answered, “There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.”
MEV
He said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer and fasting.”
MOUNCE
And he said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer.”
NOG
He told them, “This kind of spirit can be forced out only by prayer.”
NABRE
He said to them, “This kind can only come out through prayer.”
NASB
And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out by anything but prayer.”
NCV
Jesus answered, “That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer.”
NET
He told them, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
NIRV
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
NIV
He replied, “This kind can come out only by prayer.”
NIVUK
He replied, ‘This kind can come out only by prayer.’
NKJV
So He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.”
NLV
He said to them, “The only way this kind of demon is put out is by prayer and by going without food so you can pray better.”
NLT
Jesus replied, “This kind can be cast out only by prayer.”
NMB
And he said to them, This kind can come out no other way but by prayer and fasting.
NRSV
He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
NRSVA
He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’
NRSVACE
He said to them, ‘This kind can come out only through prayer.’
NRSVCE
He said to them, “This kind can come out only through prayer.”
NTE
‘This sort’, replied Jesus, ‘can only be cast out by prayer.’
OJB
And Rebbe, Melech HaMoshiach (Jesus) said to them, This kind of gerush shedim (spirit) is accomplished only by davening (prayer) with tzomot (fasting).
TPT
He answered them, “This type of powerful spirit can only be cast out by fasting and prayer.”
RGT
And He said to them, “This kind can come forth by no other means but prayer and fasting.”
RSV
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
RSVCE
And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer and fasting.”
TLV
And He said to them, “This kind cannot come out except by prayer.”
VOICE
Jesus: That sort of powerful spirit can only be conquered with much prayer [and fasting].
WEB
He said to them, “This kind can come out by nothing, except by prayer and fasting.”
WE
Jesus said to them, `This kind of bad spirit does not come out unless people talk to God and fast.’
WYC
And he said to them, This kind in nothing may go out [This kind may not go out in any thing], but in prayer and fasting.
YLT
And he said to them, `This kind is able to come forth with nothing except with prayer and fasting.’

Translations:

21st Century King James Version (KJ21) Copyright © 1994 by Deuel Enterprises, Inc.
American Standard Version (ASV) Public Domain
Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.
Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC) Copyright © 1954, 1958, 1962, 1964, 1965, 1987 by The Lockman Foundation
BRG Bible (BRG) Blue Red and Gold Letter Edition™ Copyright © 2012 BRG Bible Ministries. Used by Permission. All rights reserved. BRG Bible is a Registered Trademark in U.S. Patent and Trademark Office #4145648
Christian Standard Bible (CSB) The Christian Standard Bible. Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible®, and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers, all rights reserved.
Common English Bible (CEB) Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible
Complete Jewish Bible (CJB) Copyright © 1998 by David H. Stern. All rights reserved; Contemporary English Version (CEV) Copyright © 1995 by American Bible Society
Darby Translation (DARBY) Public Domain
Disciples’ Literal New Testament (DLNT) Disciples’ Literal New Testament: Serving Modern Disciples by More Fully Reflecting the Writing Style of the Ancient Disciples, Copyright © 2011 Michael J. Magill. All Rights Reserved. Published by Reyma Publishing
Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA) Public Domain
Easy-to-Read Version (ERV) Copyright © 2006 by Bible League International
Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV) The Evangelical Heritage Version (EHV), New Testament & Psalms ©2017
English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Text Edition: 2016. Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
English Standard Version Anglicised (ESVUK) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers.
Expanded Bible (EXB) The Expanded Bible, Copyright © 2011 Thomas Nelson Inc. All rights reserved.
1599 Geneva Bible (GNV) Geneva Bible, 1599 Edition. Published by Tolle Lege Press. All rights reserved.
GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) Copyright © 1995 by God’s Word to the Nations. Used by permission of God’s Word Mission Society.
Good News Translation (GNT) Copyright © 1992 by American Bible Society
Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers, Nashville Tennessee. All rights reserved.
International Children’s Bible (ICB) The Holy Bible, International Children’s Bible® Copyright© 1986, 1988, 1999, 2015 by Tommy Nelson™, a division of Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.
International Standard Version (ISV) Copyright © 1995-2014 by ISV Foundation. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED INTERNATIONALLY. Used by permission of Davidson Press, LLC.
J.B. Phillips New Testament (PHILLIPS) The New Testament in Modern English by J.B Phillips copyright © 1960, 1972 J. B. Phillips. Administered by The Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England. Used by Permission.
Jubilee Bible 2000 (JUB) Copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010 by Life Sentence Publishing, Inc.
King James Version (KJV) Public Domain
Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV) KJV reproduced by permission of Cambridge University Press, the Crown’s patentee in the UK.
Lexham English Bible (LEB) 2012 by Logos Bible Software. Lexham is a registered trademark of Logos Bible Software
Living Bible (TLB) The Living Bible copyright © 1971 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson
Modern English Version (MEV) The Holy Bible, Modern English Version. Copyright © 2014 by Military Bible Association. Published and distributed by Charisma House.
Mounce Reverse-Interlinear New Testament (MOUNCE) The Mounce Reverse-Interlinear™ New Testament (MOUNCE) Copyright © 2011 by William D. Mounce. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. “Reverse-Interlinear” is a trademark of William D. Mounce.
Names of God Bible (NOG) The Names of God Bible (without notes) © 2011 by Baker Publishing Group.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE) Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved.
New American Standard Bible (NASB) Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation
New Century Version (NCV) The Holy Bible, New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.
New English Translation (NET) NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://netbible.com All rights reserved.
New International Reader’s Version (NIRV) Copyright © 1995, 1996, 1998, 2014 by Biblica, Inc.®. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
New International Version (NIV) Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
New International Version – UK (NIVUK) Holy Bible, New International Version® Anglicized, NIV® Copyright © 1979, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
New King James Version (NKJV) Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Life Version (NLV) Copyright © 1969, 2003 by Barbour Publishing, Inc.
New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
New Matthew Bible (NMB) Copyright © 2016 by Ruth Magnusson (Davis). All rights reserved.
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised (NRSVA) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition, copyright © 1989, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Revised Standard Version, Anglicised Catholic Edition (NRSVACE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993, 1995 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (NRSVCE) New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1989, 1993 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
New Testament for Everyone (NTE) Scripture quotations from The New Testament for Everyone are copyright © Nicholas Thomas Wright 2011.
Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB) Copyright © 2002, 2003, 2008, 2010, 2011 by Artists for Israel International
The Passion Translation (TPT) The Passion Translation®. Copyright © 2017 by BroadStreet Publishing® Group, LLC. Used by permission. All rights reserved. thePassionTranslation.com
Revised Geneva Translation (RGT) © 2019 by Five Talents Audio
Revised Standard Version (RSV) Revised Standard Version of the Bible, copyright © 1946, 1952, and 1971 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE) The Revised Standard Version of the Bible: Catholic Edition, copyright © 1965, 1966 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Tree of Life Version (TLV) Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.
The Voice (VOICE) The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.
World English Bible (WEB) by Public Domain. The name “World English Bible” is trademarked.
Worldwide English (New Testament) (WE) © 1969, 1971, 1996, 1998 by SOON Educational Publications
Wycliffe Bible (WYC) 2001 by Terence P. Noble
Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) by Public Domain

Victory Over A Demon Through Fasting

Some time ago, we had a young girl come stay with us. Her family sent her in hopes a trip away would help her, for she had been ‘visited’ many months by an unwelcome spirit posing as a scary woman out of a childhood fairytale, or nightmare. Not surprisingly, accompanying the spiritual oppression were real, vivid nightmares.

Before she arrived, I tried to prepare for the spiritual challenge, for I knew she would not come alone. I dreaded her tagalong guest spending even one minute in my home. However, I also had confidence the entity would not be able to stay long, for our home is one surrendered to Jesus Christ and filled with the life-giving presence of the Holy Spirit. Still, I fought anxiety.

I spent some time praying War Room style (if you have not seen the movie, I urge you to do so) for our home to be protected and for the enemy to be defeated quickly. Hours after her arrival, we were already in meaningful conversation about spiritual matters. She knew the creature visiting her was demonic and expressed how badly she wanted freedom from it.

The spirit had a powerful attachment to her. Before she left the airport on the plane that would bring her to us, the spirit had appeared and asked her not to go, saying, “I want you to stay with me.”

Our first step was to encourage this dear one to reaffirm her relationship with the Lord. It was answered prayer that she enthusiastically agreed. We prayed with her the very first night to receive or reaffirm her relationship with Christ. I believe she knew Him prior, but we wanted to cover all bases. For, if a person is not a Christian, inviting Christ in your life is the first line of defense against a demonic foe.

The second thing we did was to talk to her about surrender and filling of the Holy Spirit. If your life is not surrendered, if you are holding back any area of your life or harboring ungodly items in your home, then you are laying out a welcome mat for Satan and his minions. We know this personally. There was a time several years ago we went through our house to find and destroy everything that might give the enemy an invitation.

The simple rule is, don’t keep impure movies, books or magazines in your home. Cleanse your internet surfing and tv watching. Never bring home or harbor items from pagan religions. For heaven’s sake, don’t consult with mediums, fortune tellers or worse, witch doctors. They are forbidden very clearly in Scripture (Lev. 19:31; Deut. 18:10-13; 1 Chron. 10:13-14…)

You get the idea. Purity is a big deal to God, both morally and spiritually, and there is a reason. The lack of purity allows a powerful enemy to hang around and cause all kinds of trouble. Don’t mess with it.

Our guest willingly prayed with us again. She vocalized her surrender to the Lord, and asked the Holy Spirit to fill her. Together we commanded the enemy to leave her. We hoped and believed afterward that we would be home free.

To our dismay, however, the nightmares continued. And worse, within a day or two, our friend was again seeing her demonic visitor – in our home! She would see its shadow, or be startled by it appearing suddenly in front of her. I would hear her gasp in another room and knew we still had a big, scary problem. I fought against fear we would not win and begged God for answers.

Meanwhile, I was getting advice from other friends, prayer warriors whom I had reached out to for prayer support. Some were telling me to find an expert who knew how to deal with demonic oppression. I didn’t know where to begin. I’d never even heard our local Pastor talk about direct spiritual warfare.

However, the Spirit seemed to whisper peace to me and to hint that this would not be necessary. For one thing, I thought, do we have so little of the Holy Spirit’s power in our own lives that we must remain in oppression lest we reach out to a professional?

Further, I remembered Jesus telling the disciples He had given them power over demons. If they had that power, then so must we! However, I specifically remembered Him telling the disciples in one particular instance of defeat that, “this kind only comes out by prayer and fasting!” (Mark 9:29)

There it was, the answer we had been seeking. The next step we had to take was clear, the final step in kicking the demon out of our home and our guest’s life. We had to fast.

Fasting is the Christian’s ultimate spiritual weapon. The past couple of years, I have fasted somewhat regularly and know its power. Have an unconquerable situation in your life? Fast and pray. Those mountains Jesus promised we would move with just a tiny bit of faith will move as a result of fasting. Not hearing God’s voice on a subject? Fast. His voice will become so much clearer during the period of time you abstain from food.

When we proposed fasting to our friend, she welcomed the idea. I wasn’t sure the length we should fast, but we prayed for guidance. Within a few hours, it seemed clear. We would fast three days.

Later that same day, the Lord took us to a passage in Isaiah that specifically addressed fasting. It is the few verses in Isaiah 58:6-8 where he shared exactly what God wanted from His people during a fast.

The instruction in Isaiah was simple: during the fast, share the food you would normally be eating with the hungry, meet the needs of the poor, and don’t fail to meet the needs in your own house! He also said, remove impurity out of your life, stop blaming others and speaking idol words. In other words, stop whining and focusing on yourself, get clean and meet the needs of those around you!

His promise if His people would obey? The chains of wickedness will fall off, we will go free! And when we call, He will answer, He will lead us and bless us with everything we need.

This was exactly the word we needed! So, we came up with an action plan. As part of our fast, we would bake banana bread, package it up along with a message of the love of Christ, and give it away to those most in need. We live near a city and there are many homeless living on the streets.

We baked the bread and cut it into thick slices. Next, we wrote “Jesus loves you” and John 3:16 on note paper and inserted it into a baggie. Finally, we slipped individually wrapped pieces of banana bread inside the baggies armed with love, and prepared to find our recipients.

I remember still feeling anxiety and thinking, what if this doesn’t work, what then? I asked the Lord privately, and timidly, “Lord, is it going to leave?” I heard His small, quiet voice in my spirit say, “It will be washed out.”

During this ministry of charity, I cannot tell you how meaningful it became to us. We walked around the city sharing a simple meal and message of love for those we found in need. I don’t remember how many slices we handed out, maybe 9 or 10. Every person received it gladly, and we prayed each would be changed by the love of Christ.

One final ‘hiss’ from the demon came through our pet cat. The morning of day 2 of the fast, out of nowhere this usually sweet and gentle cat attacked me. She bit my arm in several places and left marks. Thankfully, they were only surface scrapes, but I knew it was the influence of the enemy making one last desperate attempt to take a swipe at me.

However, that was the last we heard of it. That afternoon, not even 36 hours from starting the fast, the spiritual atmosphere in our home was clear. The demon had gone and our friend’s nightmares along with it. Good riddance!

The day after the fast ended, we had the privilege of baptizing our guest in the ocean. I couldn’t help but think of John the Baptist and the early Christians, baptizing those they led to the Lord in the Jordan River. It was a day of rejoicing. She was free of all that had oppressed her. As He had promised, it just washed away.

As soon as she returned home, our friend and her parents fasted for 24 hours, just in case, to ensure no re-infestation in their home! Praise the Lord, He is faithful to His promises! Fasting has been our greatest ally in winning spiritual victories over the enemy.

Isaiah 58:6-8 (New Life Version) – some parts paraphrased

The time without eating (fasting) is a time to take off the chains of wickedness, and to take the heavy load of sin off the neck. It is a time to let those who suffer under a sinful power go free, and to break off what restrains them.

It is a time to share your food with the hungry, to meet the needs of the poor and don’t remove yourself from the needs of your own household.

Then your light will break out like the early morning, and you will soon be healed. Your right and good works will go before you. And the shining-greatness of the Lord will keep watch behind you.

Then you will call, and the Lord will answer. You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take the weight of sin away, and stop putting the blame on others and stop speaking idol words, 

10 and if you give what you have to the hungry, and fill the needs of those who suffer, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your darkness will be like the brightest time of day. 

11 The Lord will always lead you. He will meet the needs of your soul in the dry times and give strength to your body. You will be like a garden that has enough water, like a well of water that never dries up.