Day 3: Fasting and Listening  1/3/24

Day 3: Fasting and Listening 1/3/24

Acts 13:2 “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’” 

 Fasting does as much for my ears as it does for my heart. As I go through the exercise of consistent, intentional sacrifice and surrender to God, my ability to hear from Him is dramatically improved. Fasting puts me in a position and place of openness and God often takes advantage of that to speak. 

The early church was still a little unsure about what to do with Saul. Not too long ago, he had been traveling around persecuting Christians. Then he falls off his horse and starts claiming he has seen Jesus. They sure wanted to believe that story, I imagine, but how can you trust this guy who was your enemy before? So, they just do what the church does; they start worshiping and fasting. In the middle of that, God speaks to them. He says, “Match the new guy up with the old, encourager, Barnabas, and give them to me.”  

Three things hit me in that short passage. First, fasting and worshiping seem to go hand in hand. Again, there is no command of God to fast (or to worship for that matter.) It is just a natural response to their walk with God. We don’t make a big deal out of fasting. We just do it. 

Second, fasting seems to be most effective when it is a corporate act.  “While THEY were worshiping and fasting.” Of course, God blesses a time of personal commitment and sacrifice. There will be periods when you feel led to get alone and pray and fast. But very often it is the concerted, collective, commitment of a group of people that God honors. I encourage you to join a group this month and fast together. 

Finally, as I said at the beginning, when we fast God speaks. I don’t imagine they heard an audible voice. This doesn’t appear to be another Pentecost with wind and fire. But as a group, they heard, they knew what God wanted them to do. Fasting produced direction in them, and the direction came from the Holy Spirit, from God. 

So, three tips: 

  1. As you are fasting be aware of the thoughts, feelings, and emotions that are rising within you. You might just be getting hungry, or God might be saying something. 
  1. Use this time of fasting to also journal. Keep paper and pen handy and write down what is going on while you fast. Sometimes I don’t know I have heard from God until I go back and read what I wrote a few days ago. 
  1. Talk to your fasting partners, your brothers and sisters who are joining you in a time of fasting. Very often it is collectively that God talks. “While we were praying, I was thinking about this…” “Yeah, I felt the same thing…” “Maybe God wants us to do this…” Those kinds of conversations often help me to discover how God is leading and where I should go next. 

Keep fasting and start listening. Who knows? God may set YOU apart. Be blessed. 

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