Christian leaders are calling on 1 million people, particularly youth in the United States, to fast and pray for an awakening at the beginning of each year this decade as part of the "Roaring Twenties" fast.
The Roaring Twenties fast is fundamentally about cultivating expectant hope for another great spiritual awakening in America and in the nations around the world amid bitter divisions and political turmoil.
In an interview with The Christian Post on Tuesday, Malachi O'Brien, a pastor at the Kansas City-area Church at Pleasant Ridge and former second vice president of the Southern Baptist Convention, recalled an experience he had with Think Eternity founder and evangelist Matt Brown while they were attending a young leaders gathering featuring Louie Giglio back in June. There, Giglio shared a phrase about what God was doing on Earth in the upcoming decade, "the roaring '20s."
"I just began to really think on that, that there's such a direct correlation from the 1920s to the 2020s. So many things politically, spiritually, economically. The decade began one way, it ended a vastly different way," O'Brien said.
The Lord put it on O'Brien's heart to call 1 million young people to fast and pray through the next decade, especially given how prayer has shaped recent decades.
In 1995, Bill Bright, founder of Campus Crusade, issued a call for fasting in hopes of spiritual revival, which was considered radical at the time, he noted. Leaders such as Ronnie Floyd, Jerry Falwell, Steve Gaines, Lou Engle, John Piper, and many others joined him in fasting for revival. By the end of the 1990s, two global 24/7 prayer movements were launched, one in the United Kingdom and one in the United States.
"I believe that the Lord wants to mark a new generation, mark them with spiritual hunger and thirst that they rest not in what we can do when we have large stadium gatherings or when we do large events, but let them be marked that it's not by might nor by power but by His Spirit. And to know that there is something powerful that happens when we really consecrate ourselves to a place of fasting and prayer."
Pastor Jentezen Franklin, whose Free Chapel church in Gainesville, Georgia, corporately fasts and prays each January, also came on board to support the initiative.
What they soon found was as they put forward plans for the Roaring Twenties fast, others were sensing the Holy Spirit calling them to similar things, O'Brien said.
Think Eternity's digital mission director Jon Groves said that growing up as the son of an evangelist he was often exposed to "revival" churches and having revival meetings regularly. Yet when he became a pastor he started studying revivals of history, great awakenings, and culture-shifting movements that shook entire continents.
"And that's what I began to crave," Groves said in comments emailed to CP on Tuesday. "Throughout history, communications shifts and true revivals have walked hand in hand. The printing press and Martin Luther. Movable type printing and George Whitefield. Television and Billy Graham. And today, in the biggest communication shift in 500 years, with social media apps and networks exploding by the millions every single day.
"There has never been a greater opportunity to flood the world and saturate the air with the message of the Gospel. To raise up digital Billy Grahams, cultural missionaries, to take Christ to culture," he said.
Although the data show that the faith of young people is dissolving by the millions, "we serve a God who loves to baffle statisticians," Groves stressed.
"My prayer is that it does not end in January, but that its ripple will be seen and roar will be heard for generations to come, the next great awakening. And just like the wave starts in the student section, we're targeting young people in this movement as well. Jesus chose 12 teenage disciples to turn the world upside down. And if Jesus did it before with 12, we cannot even imagine what He will do with 1 million young people consecrated to the cause of Christ."
The younger generations have rarely been taught about fasting and thus do not know the power of it, he said. "But if we want to see God do something new in and through us, we're going to have to be stretched in new ways.
"When you fast, you encounter and realize the presence of God in such a unique way. My desire for all those who participate is that just as Jacob left his encounter with God having a limp, that my generation would forever be dissatisfied with anything less than a miraculous move of God."