THE HOLY SPIRIT IS STILL AT WORK AMONG GOD’S PEOPLE
Reading: Acts 12:24-13:5
As they were fasting and praying together, the elders of the church at Antioch heard the Holy Spirit tell them something new and different. They were to deputize some of their people as missionaries to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ. This was a new direction for the entire Church. No longer would the elders simply hope and trust that the Gospel would spread as people moved about. Now, the mandate to proclaim the Gospel was much more purposeful. Imagine: Simply because these elders fasted and prayed, they were able to receive this new direction from the Holy Spirit. But why during a fast? Why not just at any old time?
The Lord can always reach His people. However, sometimes we become preoccupied with our daily tasks and forget to open our hearts to the Spirit’s gentle promptings. Fasting helps us to quiet our hearts and our minds. But what is considered to be a fast? Does it mean going without food? Sometimes it does mean that. But it can also be any number of other distraction-reducing, heart-quieting activities: giving up watching television for an evening, or not listening to our car radio so that we can reflect on God’s will for our lives.
It is important to remember that fasting should always be accompanied by prayer, as a way of giving our hearts to the Lord so that He can form us and empower us. Prayer and fasting help us to separate ourselves from our worldly thoughts and duties so that we can hear from God. As we quiet our hearts during a fast, we can come into God’s presence more deeply and acknowledge who He is and who we are before Him.
During our fasting and prayer, we are more open to hear the still, small voice of the Holy Spirit. Perhaps He may open us up to a new and special work that He wants us to undertake. The Holy Spirit is still at work among God’s people. As we quiet our souls and give the Lord more of our hearts, He will fill our lives with His gifts and fruit of the Spirit.
Jakarta, 24th of April 2013
A Christian Pilgrim