Acts 13:2–3 (ESV): 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.
Due to persecution, many believers were scattered, away from Jerusalem. A number of disciples went to Antioch of Syria and a strong church was started, a church that over time became a center, if not the center, of the church world in those days.
Paul had returned to his hometown of Tarsus, but Barnabus went looking for him. There, they taught many people for a year (Acts 11:26).
The influence of the believers in Antioch is seen in that they were first called Christians, a term of insult, there.
A prophet foretold a worldwide famine, and so the church of Antioch sent relief to the believers in Judea by Barnabus and Saul or Paul.
After they returned to Antioch, various leaders in the church were worshipping and fasting, when the Holy Spirit revealed to them that Barnabus and Saul/Paul should been sent out as missionaries. After praying and fasting, they laid hands on the men and sent them off.
It was in the context of prayer and fasting that the Holy Spirit revealed to the church his desire to send Paul and Barnabus out as missionaries. But it was not enough to fast and pray to receive God’s direction. Rather, the believers continued to fast and pray as they sent them men to the work.
Do we regularly pray and fast enough that we are able to hear God’s call upon our lives and our church?
If God only revealed his will through prayer and fasting, would we ever hear from Him?
Heavenly Father, I desire to know your will and be guided by your voice. Help me to cultivate the discipline of both prayer and fasting so that my heart might be in tune to your voice. Amen.