Fasting Prepares The Ground — Monday 13, November 2017
Memorise: And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. – Acts 13:3
Read: Acts 13:1-3
1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Bible in One Year: Job 30-32, Amos 3:3-4:3, Hymn: Sing Hymn 14 – Take My Life
Just before He began His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus Christ embarked on a 40-day fast. According to Matthew 4:1-2, He was led by the Holy Spirit into this exercise. Do you allow the Holy Spirit to lead you? Has He ever led you to do some fasting before? If He has, did you simply obey Him, or did you make excuses as to why you couldn’t fast? From the experience of the Lord Jesus Christ, we can see that fasting is necessary to equip us for the work of the ministry. When God commits a specific assignment into your hands, do you make out time to seek His face through fasting and prayer, or do you just jump into the assignment without necessarily seeking His direction, assistance, wisdom, protection and grace to succeed on the assignment? If you seek Him for assistance, it shows you realize your limitations and recognize that it is only through His power you can succeed in the assignment. In any case, Jesus clearly told us that we cannot do anything the way it should be done without Him (John 15:5). If we fail to seek His face, it shows we have confidence in ourselves, believing that we do not need Him to help us on the job. Beloved, you cannot do any divine assignment the way you are expected to do it without the backing of the One who sent you. From today, never embark on any assignment, be it spiritual or secular, without seeking God’s face in fasting and prayer!
In addition, when people are being prepared for the work of the ministry, prayer and fasting are needed to equip them spiritually. This was practiced in the early church. Acts 13:3 says,
“And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.”
When some prophets and teachers gathered themselves together to minister to God, the Holy Spirit selected Paul and Barnabas from their midst, to take the gospel to other nations. What did they do after this? They took time to pray and fast with them before releasing them to go and do the work. Even today, fasting is still needed to equip the various levels of the Church workforce. From the level of foundational classes for young converts and above, we should encourage praying and fasting as a means of equipping the saints for the assignments ahead of them.
Action Point: Any good thing that you are to embark on must first be subjected to prayer and fasting.