The Annual Reset: Acts 13:2-4
“2) And While they were ministering to 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, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4) So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus.” Acts‬ ‭13:2-4‬
I am a believer in seeking the Lord in fasting and prayer. The church in Antioch set aside a time for the whole leadership team to minister to the Lord with fasting and prayer.
During these days, the Holy Spirit spoke to them very clearly about setting apart Barnabas and Saul for a new ministry endeavor. I would argue that this launched the expansive mission movement in the early church.
I believe in an annual time to clear my schedule and seek the Lord in fasting and prayer. I usually do this at the end of the year and transition into the new year. There is no indication in this text as to the timing the church in Antioch picked for this endeavor. I simply find an annual reset very helpful. It is a great time to reflect on the previous year and seriously look ahead at the coming year.
So what are the benefits to fasting? Isaiah 58:5-12 lists many. It is a time to humble ourself before God and listen to Him. It can be a time of personal correction, pulling down sinful strongholds, breaking personal yokes and bondages, developing self discipline, launching into new depths of praise and worship, enhancing your prayer life and gaining clarity and confirmation on new ministry direction. This is a time set aside to earnestly seek God. I also ramp up my daily time in the Word during times of fasting.
According to Isaiah 58:9, there are significant health benefits to fasting. The science and medical community is starting to buzz with the medical breakthroughs of fasting. Just take a few hours and google “The Medical Benefits of Fasting.” Somewhere around 48-72 hours of a fast, your body actually starts producing new stem cells to promote healing. Fasting is quickly becoming breakthrough treatment for many medical conditions.
Just a word of caution, if you are not accustomed to fasting, start slow, do some research, get some medical advice and be patient with yourself. It takes huge personal discipline to sustain a fast beyond a few days.
I look forward to my annual reset. It is an awesome time of praise, worship and communion with God. This is my favorite spiritual adventure season of the year.
Daily Bible Commentary By Terry Baxter: Cofounder of GoServ Global