Here is one instance from Acts 13:2-3 of how missionaries were sent out,
“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.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.”
The call came during worship.
They heard the call and recognized the call as being the voice of the Holy Spirit.
They fasted, prayed, laid hands on them and sent them out.
How does that compare with how we send people out today?
Is this still happening?
My contention is that our selection process is quite a bit different with different criteria involved. There is rarely a listening process. We don’t expect this to happen in worship, where God speaks back, and I have never seen hands laid on and fasting done in preparation for the sending.
This is just my own experience. I realize yours may be different. Have you seen anything remotely resembling this in your church?
I have heard stories from overseas about Christians discerning that God was calling someone to mission but the people didn’t know who so they prayed and asked and prayed and asked until it became clear. This person was sent out immediately.
I realize it won’t always happen the same way as God doesn’t always act by way of formula but I do think there are valuable lessons to be learned (and practiced) from Acts 13.
First, we need to learn to listen for and to the voice of God.
Second, we need to expect things from worship that we don’t normally expect.
Third, fasting is essential to our humble obedience to the call.
What do you get from these verses and how it might be lived out today?