13 1 In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers. Among them were Barnabas, Simeon, and Lucius from Cyrene. Simeon was also called Niger. Another was Manaen. He had been brought up with Herod, the ruler of Galilee. Saul was among them too. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit spoke. “Set apart Barnabas and Saul for me,” he said. “I have appointed them to do special work.” 3 The prophets and teachers fasted and prayed. They placed their hands on Barnabas and Saul. Then they sent them off.
We can take much from these powerful few verses regarding what happened just prior to Paul’s first missionary journey. It is important to note that Paul and Barnabas were among men who were worshipping and fasting. This was the environment that enabled them to hear from the Holy Spirit. It was clear that Paul and Barnabas were called for a specific purpose. We can also see that the Holy Spirit was obeyed in that they continued to fast, pray and then laid hands upon Paul and Barnabas before sending them on their way.
Paul and Barnabas learned that they were called to a specific work for God through worship and fasting. This cannot be underestimated. God calls each and every one of us to serve him in a particular way. This passage reminds me where it all starts and where clarity can be obtained in terms of fulfilling God’s call upon my life. It’s important to go out in the power of God’s spirit. Notice how those remaining prayed for those who were specifically sent. All present knew Paul and Barnabas had been singled out on this occasion but they all shared in the dedicating part by praying and believing what the Holy Spirit had said. A team working together in faith!
Dear Lord, thank you for calling each one of us to serve you in a unique way. Help us to wait on you and hear & obey your Holy Spirit before we go. Amen.
Written by Ps. Ainslie Woods