25 When Barnabas and Saul had finished their mission, they returned from Jerusalem, taking with them John, also called Mark.
Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2 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.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. Acts 12:25-13:3
By this time the church in general had a few months to grow. They recognized three important aspects of missionary work: worship, prayer, and fasting. They are like three legs on a tripod. Take one away and the tripod falls over quickly. Within most Western Christian circles, fasting is the third leg that not many people talk about or do. In fact, I cannot recall ever seeing a missionary “send off” service where a significant number of parishioners had been fasting prior to the commissioning ceremony. Was it used exclusively for that time period? There’s nothing to indicate that.
Perhaps we’re missing something major when we neglect this “task.” Perhaps our missionaries are missing a great blessing.
I suppose there are a great many reasons leaders don’t do this anymore.
Or maybe we’re just getting lazy and soft as we grow older.