I promise I didn’t mean to make this another series. But fasting, prayer, and discernment seem to be a theme in the book of Acts. Here are some verses:
Acts 13:2-3: “As they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after they had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off.”
Acts 14:21-23: “After they had preached the gospel in that town (Derbe) and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith and by telling them, ‘It is necessary to go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.’ When they had appointed elders for them in every church and prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.”
This theme of fasting reminds me of the post I wrote about Joshua and the Gibeonites. As leader of the Israelites, Joshua did not seek God before accepting the Gibeonites into his camp, which resulted in their not knowing the Gibeonites’ true identity. In Acts 13, the apostles prayed and fasted–“worshipped” and fasted–to ensure that they were hearing from God before they sent Barnabas and Saul out on a mission. Similarly, in Acts 14, it was after prayer and fasting that the apostles were able to confidently appoint elders to the churches.
Fasting and prayer are essential to the discernment process. This is what I’m learning. Prayer is communication with God. We can’t–or, we shouldn’t–make decisions without discussing them with God first, because God can help us see whether or not we are about to make a good decision, or a decision that is aligned with God’s will for us.
Fasting is the act of denying yourself of the things that you would normally depend on (like food), or, in modern times, be distracted by (like social media). I know that fasting is also supposed to help us hear God more clearly, because there is nothing to take up our time, so we can spend that extra time in prayer.
I can think of a couple things I need to seek the Lord about. What about you?
I wonder if fasting might help.
If you have never fasted before and are interested, here is one resource that I have found useful:
- “Fasting Guidelines and Information,” International House of Prayer, Kansas City (IHOP KC), https://www.ihopkc.org/about/fasting-guidelines-and-information/
I know there are many more, but I would only share something that I have actually used or read.
[And, of course, here’s the legal disclaimer that I’m not a doctor and I can’t give any medical advice about fasting.]
Another disclaimer: I’m not the type of person who says “Promotion of X is not a statement of agreement with X.” I’d rather not get entangled with all of that. I will only post and share content from ministries and organizations that I trust theologically and ethically (unless later, self-directed research proves otherwise).