Developing a Prayer and Fasting Culture: A Q&A with David Roadcup and Bobby Harrington
Is your church waking up from the uneasy peace we have often made with the way things are? Are you and your church ready to move beyond maintaining membership rolls to seriously pursuing revival?
For Christians ready for revival, it’s time to reintroduce the spiritual disciplines of prayer and fasting—not as sporadic regularities but as serious habits.
To help our churches move forward in prayer and fasting, Renew.org recently released Prayer and Fasting: Moving with the Spirit to Renew Our Minds, Bodies, and Churches by David Roadcup and Michael Eagle. In addition, we are offering a free author-led webinar called Prayer and Fasting: the “Why” and the “How” on Monday, Dec. 7, from 7-8:30 CT.
How can prayer and fasting become a serious part of a church’s rhythms? To answer this, we caught up with Dr. David Roadcup, co-author of Prayer and Fasting, as well as Dr. Bobby Harrington, who describes practical steps his church is taking in January to implement church-wide prayer and fasting.
Q: How is prayer and fasting connecting with revival?
DAVID: Serious prayer and fasting have always preceded the Lord’s visitation in terms of revival. Seeking the Lord’s face and in repentance and humility and coming before Him through prayer and fasting can very much be the beginning of a spiritual awakening. These two disciplines are also at the heart of the spiritual life of a growing Christian.
Q: Why did you and Mike write the book Prayer and Fasting?
DAVID: I had Mike as a student in his Master’s program at TCMI. We became close friends. Mike also has a heart for Bobby Harrington and the Renew.org and Discipleship.org ministries. Bobby knew of the serious interest Mike and I both have in the spiritual disciplines. He approached us and asked that we consider co-writing this book, which is what brought us together to complete the book on prayer and fasting.
Q: What’s your favorite line from the book?
DAVID: Obviously, there are many! In the summation of the book, I wrote this line which is actually the thesis of the book: “Through this volume, Michael and I wanted to encourage you as a leader to move to the next level in your spiritual journey when it comes to the disciplines of prayer and fasting.”
Q: Why Do Your Leaders Emphasize Fasting and Prayer?
BOBBY: At my home church (Harpeth Christian Church) and at Renew.org, we emphasize regular prayer and fasting because we have learned from international Disciple Making Movements (DMM) that it is the key to revival and spiritual breakthroughs.
We have listened to disciple maker Shodankeh Johnson and asked his intercessors to pray for us. Three years ago, at our church, the elders started a weekly prayer meeting every Thursday at 6:00 a.m. Then we started to call everyone to fasting and prayer on Mondays in January 2020.
It is super difficult to change our culture this way and we have a long way to go, but we believe that God is blessing us through it. We are seeing unusually good harmony as leaders, numerical growth, and significant financial giving, way beyond our budget this year.
Q: Why Tithe to Fasting and Prayer in January?
BOBBY: The idea is to explicitly give the first part (first 10%) of the year to God to show that we dedicate the whole year to Him. During the webinar next Monday night (December 7th), we will be sharing Harpeth Christian Church’s plan to call everyone to prayer and fasting in January, including 21 days of group fasting starting January 17th.
Here is our plan in brief:
- All of our leaders (elders, staff, discipleship group leaders) will read Roadcup and Eagle’s book Prayer and Fasting in December.
- All adults and high school students will get a copy of the book by the first Sunday in January.
- Starting January 10th, we will have a 5-part sermon series on the Holy Spirit, fasting, and prayer.
- All of our Home Groups will go through our Group Discussion Guide.
- Then on January 17th, we will invite everyone to explicitly pick a fast (one meal a day, or two meals, etc.) and start that day.
- We will then fast from January 17th through February 6th and celebrate the end of the fast on February 7th.
We are asking God to do great things through our church, Renew.org, and our other ministries in 2021. During the December 7th webinar, we will provide free copies of our plan and the Group Discussion Guide for any church that wants to explore something similar.