Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them (Paul and Barnabas) and sent them off.
We are all so keen on food and everything to do with it that the thought of fasting doesn't sound very appealing. Mind you, there is one popular diet routine that has two days of fasting in the week. I'm told it works!
The Bible's teaching about fasting has a much deeper, spiritual meaning to it. Sadly, like all good ideas we find in the Bible, fasting has suffered at the hands of people who used it either as a means to try to get something from God or to make them look good in the eyes of others — "see how seriously I take my Christian life!" Others adopted fasting as an extreme way of living, thinking it would make them more acceptable to God. These were wrong ideas.
True Christian fasting is nearly always associated with some really significant event in a person's life when much prayer and heart searching are required. Fasting involves not merely giving up food for a short time, but laying aside as much as we can of other things in order to pray and study God's word so that we can get to know God's will for a particular course of action.
When Paul and Barnabas were set aside to go on their missionary journey this was one of the most important events in the early church's history. No wonder the elders fasted and prayed about it. Fasting sharpens the mind and helps us to concentrate on finding what God wants us to do.