"While they were worshipping the LORD and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, 'Set apart for me Barnabas & Saul for the work to which I have called them.'"
There were 5 of them. Luke describes them as "prophets & teachers." I'm sure they were also friends. Were they a regular "small group" who'd gather together, or was this a one time thing? I'm not sure. But they were worshipping together "...and fasting."
"...AND FASTING" isn't something you hear much about anymore these days. In this world of fast-food, take-out menus, and snack-sized easy-to-carry treats, we in the US have an obscene amount of food available to us. Sure, there are some folks who struggle financially, so are not able to access that food like the rest of us. But for the most part, we can eat anytime we desire.
That's why fasting seems so foreign. Jesus taught that we "do not live by bread alone," but we've been weary to embrace that truth. Some have continued the ancient art of fasting (as a spiritual discipline), but the rest of us seem too reluctant to give up our appetites (or at least put them on hold for a bit!).
And yet, could it be that God speaks more when we're living sacrifically? Our passage today from Acts 13 seems to indicate so. Fasting (if even for a meal or two) opens our spirit to receive more of God's grace & communication. Maybe this is a "gift" I can give myself this Christmas Season... sacrificing a meal (or two) to spend time seeking a word from the Lord.
Want to join me?