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21-Day Fast: Fasting for Revival in America

Monday, August 12 - Sunday, September 1, 2019

Join fellow Christians across America in a 21-day fast (fasting from food). Participants will follow the example of men and women of Scripture who humbled themselves and sought the Lord through fasting. Our country needs the spiritual renewal that only God can bring. May He hear our cry and answer!

Starting Monday, August 12, 2019, participants will seek God through the biblical practice of fasting. You may choose to fast from all foods for the entire 21 days—drinking only liquids—or you may choose to fast one or two meals each day. For some, health limitations will require a different type of fast (see fasting resources). However God leads you, we are thrilled to have you be a part.

Please sign up below to participate. By signing up, each morning during the fast, you will receive a special devotional by email to encourage you as we devote ourselves to the Lord together in this special and humble way. May God draw near and bring spiritual renewal to us and to our nation as we seek Him through prayer and fasting!

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Fasting as Senders and Goers

Friday, August 23, 2019
Devotional for Day 12

Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 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.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. — Acts 13:1-3

In this passage, we see the first Christians are worshiping and seeking God. As they do, we see the Holy Spirit direct them to send out two of their especially gifted and godly leaders.

There are at least two things about this passage that we should be sure to take note of—things which deepen our understanding of fasting and the Christian life. From there, I am hoping we can see the direct application of this passage to our lives.

One thing we should note about this passage is that it comes at a pivotal point in the Book of Acts. Following the pattern that Jesus foretold, in chapters one through eight we see the gospel going out from Jerusalem to Judea and Samaria. From the end of chapter eight through chapter twelve, the Gospel begins to spread, incidentally and incrementally, beyond Judea and Samaria to Gentiles in the rest of the Roman world. In this passage, we see a further development—the early church intentionally sends out missionaries to the Gentile world.

A second feature of this particular passage is that the list of leaders given here is, in many ways, a diverse group. Notice the list of names Luke gives us. First comes Barnabas. Readers of the book of Acts will already be familiar with Barnabas. Barnabas was a Jewish Christian evangelist. Since niger is the Latin word for “black,” Simeon was most likely a black man. Cyrene is a city in northern Africa, so Lucius was also from Africa. Luke doesn’t tell us where Manaen is from, but we learn from his description that he is clearly a person of extremely high social status. He serves as a very visible example of the Christian movement spreading to places of influence in the ancient world. Finally, Saul appears to be the apostle Paul’s Jewish name. You likely know Paul well—it is difficult to overstate how influential Paul was in bringing the good news to the Roman world. In this passage, then, we get a small glimpse into God’s heart to see the Gospel spread to all kinds of people.

It is in the context of the inclusion of the Gentiles in the message of Gospel that this passage comes. These early leaders in the church—“prophets and teachers,” we are told—fast. And as they fasted, the Holy Spirit confirmed God’s calling on Barnabas and Saul. Fasting then leads to mission—the specific mission of bringing the good news of Christ’s death and resurrection to the Gentiles.

The parallel of all of this to believers today is readily apparent: we should join these early Christian in fasting for mission—that we might send out missionaries as well as to determine that we ourselves should go as missionaries. In the practices of fasting as well as sending and going on mission, these first Christians were following Christ’s commands (Matt 6:16-18; Matt 28:16-20). May we fast today like them with openness to anything God might be calling us to, not least to His commands to go into all the world with the Gospel.

On the basis of this passage, I would encourage you today to fast specifically for missions and missionaries. Fast for the purpose of seeing the gospel spread into all of the world. Following the example of these early Christians, perhaps you might also schedule a time in the coming weeks to fast and pray with others that God would send godly Christians—perhaps, even you—to share the message of Christ’s death and resurrection with others.

As you fast today, here is a prayer you might pray:

Lord, I am asking today that You would send men and women to share the gospel with others.
I pray that You would give me an opportunity to share as well.
Lord, give me opportunities, here, right where I live.
I offer myself to go to somewhere presently unknown to me, should You call me.
Lord, give me opportunities to bring the gospel to others.
And give me opportunities to send out others to go.

Ryan Reed
Teaching Fellow, Christian Union at Princeton

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1,176 People Fasting

Join with the believers who have committed themselves to fasting for twenty-one days.

Why Fast?

Fasting was practiced in the Old Testament, New Testament and in church history to entreat God for Him to move in extraordinary ways. We need God in the U.S. now more than ever.

Moses fasted 40 days, Nehemiah fasted 120 days, and large numbers of Jews in Esther's time fasted for 70 days in their time of need.

2 Chronicles 7:14 says that when we humble ourselves and confess our sins, God intervenes in history to heal our land. In Psalm 35:13 King David humbled himself through fasting and many others in the Scriptures have done the same to gain favor from God. Moses fasted 40 days, Nehemiah fasted 120 days, and large numbers of Jews in Esther’s time fasted for 70 days in their time of need. Jesus fasted 40 days, Christians in the book of Acts fasted regularly, and believers for 2000 years have sought God through fasting and prayer. Thousands of American Christians humbling themselves through an extended fast will be very meaningful to God and will help move Him, according to His word, to bring change to the United States.

How to Fast

The fast lasts for 21 days, beginning Monday, August 12th, 2019 through Sunday, September 1st. As a signed-up participant, you will receive an email each morning of the fast, featuring a devotional to encourage and motivate you as you fast.

You may choose to fast from foods for the entire 21 days -- drinking only liquids -- or you may choose to fast one or two meals each day. However God leads you, we are thrilled to have you be a part.

Don't be afraid to take on this biblical challenge to draw closer to God and see Him exalt you as you humble yourself through fasting.

If you don’t have a lot of experience fasting, this may be a challenging endeavor. Christians throughout the centuries have sought God through fasting and have found Him in wonderful ways as a result. Don’t be afraid to take on this biblical challenge to draw closer to God and see Him exalt those who humble themselves through fasting.

Fasting Resources

American Christians are often unfamiliar with the practice even though fasting was common for Christians through the centuries and is regularly done in the international Church. For more information check out this FAQ for Fasting and this curated list of resources.

God's Next Move in America

America’s Christian heritage is among the greatest of all the nations in the world. God’s Kingdom has thrived here through the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s, largely due to nationwide moves of God’s Spirit. We need another history-making move of God. By His sovereign grace, God ensures that we play a part in Heaven’s work. He draws near to us when we draw near to Him (James 4:8). We must ask, seek, and knock for an outpouring of His Spirit (Luke 11:5-13).

“Whenever God is about to do something truly great,
He first sets His people praying!” Matthew Henry, 1662-1714

"Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you." James 4:8
"Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." William Carey, 1751-1834

God's Next Move in America

America’s Christian heritage is among the greatest of all the nations in the world. God’s Kingdom has thrived here through the 1700s, 1800s, and 1900s, largely due to nationwide moves of God’s Spirit. We need another history-making move of God. By His sovereign grace, God ensures that we play a part in Heaven’s work. He draws near to us when we draw near to Him (James 4:8). We must ask, seek, and knock for an outpouring of His Spirit (Luke 11:5-13).

“Whenever God is about to do something truly great,
He first sets His people praying!” Matthew Henry, 1662-1714

Over the last three centuries, revivals have had a great impact. Between 1730 and 1830 successive movements of the Holy Spirit brought a large proportion of the population into the churches. These awakenings are not ultimately the result of marketing or organization. They come, by God’s grace and in his time, in response to extraordinary prayer. Christian Union Day and Night is making a serious attempt to spark this kind of prayer and devotion. I welcome it, and I’m very encouraged by it.

  • Tim Keller
  • Redeemer Presbyterian Church
  • New York City