Jun 19 2010 - Prayer and fasting (Acts 13:1-3)
Acts 13 marks a key moment in the book of Acts. Barnabas has been caring for the young church at Antioch. He had recruited the help of Paul who has now been engaged in multi-cultural ministry for more than a year. In this time others have begun to share the task of leadership within the church. Now it's time for Paul and Barnabas to move on; its time for Paul to begin the ministry prepared for him by the Lord and for which he is now fully prepared.
We read that it was while the leadership team were worshipping the Lord and fasting that the Holy Spirit instructed them to set aside Barnabas and Saul for the work to which the Lord was calling them. (Before the chapter is out, Saul has become Paul and has taken the lead in the new team; henceforth it's Paul and Barnabas.) Having received this message we read that the leadership team devoted themselves to prayer and fasting before commissioning the missionaries with the laying on of hands. The remainder of the book of Acts will be devoted to the missionary activity of God.
Now I like my food. More than that, I enjoy it with thankfulness, receiving it as a gift from God. I have to confess to finding such references to fasting uncomfortable (in the strict meaning of the term). Could it be that in the complacent - though thankful - enjoyment of our comforts we are missing out on some of the ministry and blessings which the Lord has for those who love him more than their necessary food? I find this food for thought.