Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said,"Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away. (Acts 13:1-3)
We see two type of praying associated with fasting. I want to look at them in reverse because our focus will be on the latter. Fasted and prayed; this is known as petition praying in which we are asking God to do something for us shown in verse 3. However verse 2 reveals something a little different. They ministered to the LORD and fasted; which is known as worship prayer.
The word minister means to be a servant; to be a worshipper of God. The differences between both of these types of prayer are obvious. But, one is not more important than another. However, in most times of prayer we are seeking God on our own behalf praying that certain needs be met or seeking God on the behalf of another, ministering to one another (and we certainly need to do this). Notice something else in verse 2…“The Holy Spirit said”. There was a response of the Holy Spirit as they ministered to the LORD. We need to understand that this type of prayer creates an atmosphere where the LORD can move.
But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel. (Psalm 22:3)
When believers minister to the LORD they should do so in faith not just going through a ceremonial or religious routine. In doing so the door is opened to unlimited possibilities of the LORD moving in the midst as we saw in Psalm 22:3. In acts 13:2 the Holy Spirit spoke to launch Barnabas and Saul (Paul) into ministry. But think about a typical church gathering. Should we really expect the Holy Spirit to speak or move as we minister to the LORD? Emphatically yes. Anytime believers gather in the name of Jesus, His promise is that He would be in the midst and if He is in the midst then we should release our faith and expect that He will move in the midst. Unfortunately it is quite sad that there are people who truly love the LORD but when they gather together they have no expectation that the Holy Spirit will move. Maybe we need to revisit the Parable of the persistent woman and the judge and learn a lesson concerning faith.