Bible Passage(s): Acts 13: 1 - 4
Memory Verse: “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. And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away." Acts 13: 2-3
People of God have fasted for various reasons throughout history. Some of the reasons include repentance, mourning and freedom for a whole nation or people.
What lessons can we learn from the New Testament?
1) Anna fasted in worship to God in expectation of the Messiah (Luke2:37). The early believers also fasted in the act of worship (Acts13:2). We can decide to fast in worship of God and to be in His presence and enjoy intimacy with God without distractions. Acts 13:2 tells us that the Apostles gathered, ministering to the Lord as they fasted. No wonder they could hear instructions from the Holy Ghost
2) Commissioning believers into ministry. (Acts9:8-11, Acts 14:23 and Acts 13:3-4).
Saul, turned Paul, had a supernatural encounter with God and as a result did not eat or drink for 3 days. Whatever the circumstances, we know that Paul was at the threshold of being released into a powerful, but unique ministry.
3) For deliverance when in danger or distress (Acts27: 21, 32-34). We can also fast when in danger or distress. It’s not the fast on its own that releases us from danger, but the act of fasting with prayer places us in a situation that reduces distraction and causes us to be more sensitive to God.
What does fasting have to do with ministering healing?
As we can deduce from the experiences of the early Christians, they ministered with signs and wonders following. In Acts 27, Paul had a long fast on this turbulent voyage. Paul was able to assure the other passengers of their safety. He was bitten by a poisonous snake and was expected to die from the venom, but nothing happened to him and went ahead to minister healing to the father of the village head who was healed leading to the whole community being healed of various diseases.
Fasting on most occasions in the New Testament is linked with being launched into ministry and experiencing a close fellowship with God in order to show forth His glory to people. Most of the fasts recorded in the New Testament culminated in the fulfillment of God's purpose (healing inclusive) at particular points in history. Shalom
Kemi Olowe, P.HD
Grace Leadership Foundation