The beginning of the year is a good time to seek direction from the Lord. Because of that, I’m setting aside this week for personal fasting and prayer. Fasting should be a normal part of your Christian experience.
Scripture tells about some people who were working in a church in Antioch. They were involved in teaching and helping out for years. They also understood the truth about fasting and prayer. I’m going to be talking about it for a few posts.
In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
Because he’s listed first, we see that Barnabas was the one in charge of this ministry. Last on the list was a guy named Saul. He had his 5 minutes of fame while he was persecuting the church. Now he’s pretty much forgotten.
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.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.
In the middle of their meeting they heard from God. That made all the difference. According to Scripture, they were performing public service to God and fasting.
Throughout the day a few different people heard the same thing from God. Separate Barnabas and Saul to the work I have called them.
We have to come to grips with the fact that fasting prepares you to hear from God. The truth is that God always desires to bring you from glory to glory. He wants to cause growth in your life and ministry.
The more you hear from the Lord, the more specific your calling becomes. The path you’re walking becomes more and more narrow.
During His time on earth, Jesus talked about asking, seeking and knocking. He said that if you knock, the door will be opened for you. What door was He talking about? He went on to say…
“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
I don’t believe that He’s talking about salvation here. This verse is about asking the Father for direction and wisdom.
There’s an easy way that leads to loss and ruin. Many people – Christians included – are running after the temporary. But there is another way that’s easier to miss. You have to seek and ask just to find the gate.
Then you have to knock, keep on knocking, and push through. Very few even find it. That’s because they don’t want to seek and ask. But Barnabas and Saul were seeking. They were prepared to hear.
This is the gate of fasting and prayer. I invite you to come on in and see what the Lord has for you this year.
Question: How important to your Christian walk is fasting and prayer?
© Nick Zaccardi 2016