1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 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. – Acts 13:1–3
They were worshiping the Lord and fasting. The church at Antioch, as recorded in Acts 13, gives us an incredible example of how the Holy Spirit directs and leads the church into mission. They gathered together, they prayed together, they fasted together, and they worshipped the Lord together. They had incredibly close communion with God, not just as individuals, but also as a community. As we pray for the Lord to send laborers into His harvest, we must also seek His wisdom and leading within the sending. This passage was one that inspired us to set apart the last Tuesday (or another day of the week) of each month, to not only pray together, but to invite the church to fast together as well.
Larry McCrary expounds on this passage of scripture this way: “The Spirit spoke and gave the church very specific directions, which they obeyed. It was a very significant moment, because until this point in Scripture, a person’s call seemed to be more individual. Think about Abram, Moses, Joshua, Isaiah, the disciples, etc. Each of these men had a specific call from God and usually for a certain task. But in Acts 13, the calling came within the context of community. The Spirit, who indwelled the believers, united them with one another; and in community, the Spirit guided the church in the specifics of missionary engagement.”
LifePoint – let us be like Antioch.
PRAYER FOCUS #1 – MOTIVATION
- Pray that God would teach us to fast as described in his scripture. Ask the Lord to grow in you a desire to see His Kingdom come that would outweigh your desire to have food in your belly. (Matthew 5:6)
- Pray that the Lord would set our motives in fasting to be in alignment with His will. Entering into a fast is not about trying to see how long you can go without eating. Ask the Lord to help you enter into this as a God-chosen fast, inspired by Acts 13.
- Pray that our fasting would be pleasing to the Lord, an act of worship leading to increased participation in the mission of God. (Isaiah 58, Matthew 6:16–18)
PRAYER FOCUS #2 – DEPENDENCY
- Our culture thrives on the worldview of independence. Fasting helps us put that into a better perspective… a Biblical perspective. Each time your belly growls or you feel the emptiness of your stomach, you will no doubt be awakened to your body’s dependence on food. Each time it grumbles, ask the Lord to awaken your great need and dependence on God for things far more important than food. (Duet. 8:3, Matthew 4:4)
- Pray that God would deepen our dependency on Him. Pray this for yourself individually, your family, and for us corporately as part of the body of Christ. That our souls would hunger and thirst for the Lord. (Psalm 42:1–2)
PRAYER FOCUS #3 – JOYFUL GOING & SENDING
- Continue to pray earnestly for God to SENDlaborers into the harvest. We encourage you to go back and listen to the message from June 14th that walked through this very same passage. (Acts 13:1–3)
- Pray through the characteristics of those that God uses for His Kingdom. Pray that we would demonstrate the same characteristics and would walk in the lordship of Jesus.
- God uses the diverse (1 Corinthians 12)
- God uses the unknown (Acts 11:19–21)
- God uses worshippers (John 4:21–24)
- God uses the hungry (Matthew 5:6)
- God uses the humble and dependent (Matthew 23:12, James 4)
- God uses the obedient (John 14:15)
- God uses people with a past (Acts 26)
- God uses the redeemed (Hebrews 9:11–14)
- We ask in faith that God will send, as he calls us to GO, pray that we send with joy!