The Acts of Disciples
They Pray and Fast – Part II
Scripture Reading: Acts 13:1-3
Key Verse: Acts 13:2
One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.”
As we continue looking at the Acts of the Disciples and how they prayed and fasted, let me offer a few other thoughts on the subject.
Years ago, I heard someone say that a family member fasted a meal and watched TV during that time. I am sure that made the time pass quicker, but they missed the point of fasting. As I mentioned in yesterday’s devotional, finding more time to pray is the most important aspect of fasting… if not the only aspect!
We all go through seasons of our life when we face critical decisions or extreme trials. If you feel that God is leading you to fast, be sure to ask Him to lead you in this area of fasting. Ask Him what to fast and how long to fast.
Though we first think of fasting one or more meals, food is not the only way we might fast. There are other things that we could fast in our modern-day life to give us more time for prayer. It might help to think about what activities you could drop for a while that would give you more time to pray.
Realize that prayer and fasting both take discipline. The Scriptures tell us to discipline our bodies to represent Christ to our world in a way that is effective. As the Apostle Paul wrote:
I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27 NLT)
I am convinced that if we could interview Paul, he would tell us that we need discipline, but it must not replace our passion for Jesus. Read what Jesus said to a Pharisee:
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.” (Luke 10:27-28)
The Spiritual disciplines that we practice are never meant to “stand on their own”; we use them to help us love God and our neighbors better. The Pharisees were very disciplined, but they missed the point of their disciplines.
Though we are free in Christ, do not get legalistic about fasting (or anything else in our spiritual journey with God). Practice prayer and fasting so that you can love God with all your heart.
Father, grant me the spirit of discipline that I might love You and people around me better! I pray this in Jesus’s Name, amen.