Not that I can say with certainty, but I can offer personal observation after hundreds of conversations with leaders of a few dozen countries over the past 20 years. For example:
- The Canadian campus ministry saw a 50% increase in staff and student interns (from 120 to 180) last year. When I asked Mike, the director, what he attributed it to, he humbly shrugged his shoulders. Later, in another conversation, he casually referred to his personal habit of praying and fasting for 40 days each year.
- Koreans serving in East Asia consistently saw spiritual movements grow in spite of having very limited financial resources, having to learn two new languages (Chinese and English), and enjoying very limited status in their host culture. In desperation, most teams spent every day of their first semester awakening before dawn to take 2×2 prayer walks around the campus coupled with frequent periods of extended fasting.
- In April, staff and interns at Ohio University lead a very healthy, growing student-led movement. They devote one-half day per week in praying for the campus and the world.
These represent just a few examples. I could go on and on and on. Scripture also records that almost every great leader who left an indelible mark for God’s Kingdom spent extended time in prayer and fasting. Moses, Daniel, David, Paul, Jesus, the leaders at Antioch, and many more.
When faced with seemingly insurmountable barriers we might consider Jesus’ advice to his men: Then the disciples came to Jesus privately and said, “Why could we not drive it [a demon] out?” And He said to them, “Because of the littleness of your faith; for truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting. (Matthew 17:19-21)
Question: What role does prayer and fasting play in my movement-launching strategy?