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Why start New Year 2022 with a fast?

Unsplash/Manki Kim

In light of a world desperately searching for hope in the midst of chaos, we asked three pastors why they look at a fast to start New Year 2022 as being critically essential for churches and personal lives.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.” 
– Matthew 5:6 

Matthew Maher

Former professional soccer player Matthew Maher would start the beginning of each year, from 2011 to 2014, fasting for 21 days – while in prison.

As Jason Romano of Sports Spectrum reports, Maher’s career spanned a couple of seasons, but on March 1, 2009, Maher blew out his knee and his career was over. Just six days later, a decision Maher made changed his life forever. On March 7, 2009, Maher was driving drunk when he hit and killed Hort Kap. Maher was sentenced to five and a half years in prison in January 2010.

Maher said that while serving 4 years and 7 months, he returned back to the foundation of faith that he grew up in with his family. 

“Fasting and praying became part of my weekly rhythms,” Maher told Think Eternity. “I would fast for 21 days, not only about what God was doing in my life, but I wanted to consecrate the first part of the year, those 21 days to the Lord.”

After leaving prison, he created Maher is also a teaching pastor at Coastal Christian Church in Ocean City, New Jersey, and is a highly sought-after speaker.

“While in prison, it was starting the year off with a 21 day fast that helped give the clarity and spiritual enthusiasm that would be birthed out of hunger and thirsting for the Lord,”  he said. “All at the same time, ultimately abstaining or saying ‘no’ to the things of the world or flesh.”

Maher joined the Roaring Twenties Fast in 2020 and said the movement has been “right down my spiritual alley.”

“There are people all across the country fasting, and 2020 is like this line of demarcation that we can all look back on and say, ‘The world has changed and it’s not snapping back,’” he said. “We are in desperate need of a revivalfor people who call themselves Christians to return to a biblical understanding, ultimately, to return to a biblical Jesus.”

“I want more of God. The fastest way to encounter more of God at a deeper level is fasting.” – Malachi O’Brien, Roaring Twenties Fast

Mike Kai  

Pastor Mike Kai of the multi-site Inspire Church in Hawaii said that he often calls upon his church to fast, especially at the beginning of the year.

“Fasting recalibrates the heart of the church. When the heart of the church is recalibrated and realigned with God’s plans and purposes there’s nothing that God would not do for the church,” Kai told Think Eternity.

“Before we can preach, before we can evangelize on a large scale, I really believe that the church has to go first through repentance and fasting,” he said.   

Kai, whose personal interest includes the study of revival movements worldwide in history, believes the church is in need of a revival and an awakening. 

“Revival is reviving something that was once alive, but is now close to death,” Kai said.  “An awakening historically is when God sovereignly just pours out His spirit on a place and other people.”

He adds, “When the corporate church is called to fast then God moves in the church. When he moves inside the building, he moves outside of the buildings. Then, He will sovereignly, once again, pour out his Spirit.”

Kai shares that in his personal life, fasting and prayer have helped bring “a wayward daughter home to Jesus” and has strengthened his marriage commitment.

“He's making me more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, whether it be through intermittent fasting or conventional fasting,” he said. “Prayer sets the tone, but fasting sets the pace.” 

Shane Idleman

“The results are in: America’s stage four cancer has metastasized to the family and the church as well as to the government and the schools. We are more depraved than ever before,” Pastor Shane Idleman of Westside Christian Fellowship in Leona Valley, California, states in his message, Why Revival is America’s Only Hope!

During an interview via email with Think Eternity, Idleman shared, “We see throughout the Bible that there is only one remedy — one solution — one cure to reverse the judgment of God: Revival. During times of crisis, the cure for judgment was to return back to God: 

“Consecrate a fast, call a sacred assembly; gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land into the house of the Lord your God, and cry out to the Lord.” – Joel 1:14

“Revival changes a nation from the inside out,” Idleman said. “Benjamin Franklin, commenting on George Whitefield’s preaching, said this about the revival sweeping the land, ‘It was wonderful to see the change soon made in the manners of our inhabitants. From being thoughtless or indifferent about religion, it seemed as if all the world were growing religious.’” 

Idleman is extending the call from Roaring Twenties Fast 2022 leaders asking for one million people, especially young people, to fast and pray at the beginning of the new year and throughout the decade.

“Hunger for food is replaced by hunger for God,” he said. 

In October 2021, Idleman said his church was called out to pray and fast. Church prayer meetings were held every evening for two weeks at 6 pm. 

“The atmosphere, at times, was overwhelming,” he said. “We had a full altar call, dozens of baptisms, and countless lives changed. As the old-timers used to say, ‘God heard our cries and showed up today.’”

Alex Murashko is the founder and editor of Media on Mission, which highlights the work of media and journalists, working in all platforms, whose Editor in Chief is above all others. Murashko is a contributing writer for Thinke.

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