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Acts 13      English Standard Version (ESV)

Barnabas and Saul Sent Off

1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.



  • In this passage, worship, prayer and fasting are integrated into the selection and installation of Barnabas and Saul as missionaries. Today worship and prayer are common in the ordination of pastors and installation of missionaries, but fasting is not.  Why has fasting been dropped from the preparation for these times of consecration?
  • How possible would it be to suggest that fasting be part of the next ordination or installation service in your church? Or for the next church-wide meeting regarding future planning?
  • Read carefully the definition of these three elements to gain a better understanding. Find ways to implement one of these this week. (Renovare Spiritual Formation Bible)

Worship: Expressing in words, music, rituals, and silent adoration the greatness, beauty, and goodness of God, by means of which we enter the supernatural reality of the glory, of God.

Prayer: Interactive conversation with God about what we and God are thinking and doing together. Therefore, there is talking and also the silently listening.

Fasting: The voluntary abstention from an otherwise normal function – most often eating – for the sake of intense spiritual activity. Other examples include web surfing, TV, favourite food, sports, etc.