(March 11, 2001)
Bill Bright, 78, founder of Campus Crusade for Christ, author
of The Four Spiritual Laws and the visionary behind the Jesus film,
realized that even our most ambitious evangelism efforts were not
turning the tide for Christ in our world. So each year since 1994,
Bright has fasted for 40 days, drinking only water and juice. He lives
in Orlando, Fla.
Bright spoke with Kerry Batchman of Campus Upgrade, the Chi Alpha
publication of the Assemblies of God, about fasting and its role in
Evangel: You recently announced your retirement as director of
Campus Crusade for Christ, International. How will your retirement
impact your role in global evangelism?
Not retirement, refirement. Im simply passing the torch of the
presidency of Campus Crusade for Christ. Im still involved in
One of the additional things Im doing is promoting fasting
and prayer for worldwide revival. Everything Im doing now
the emphasis on prayer and fasting worldwide and training will
dramatically accelerate everything Ive done for the last 50
years. Our Lord Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father interceding
for us, and He is our model and our mentor. The greatest thing a believer
can do is follow the model of the Lord Jesus to seek the lost.
Evangel: Why has there been such an emphasis on fasting in your
life in the last few years?
Bright: In 1994, God led me for my first 40-day fast. Ive
had seven since, one each year, to intercede for revival. I would
say it was Gods timing. Ive fasted and prayed shorter
periods for years. I simply obeyed what He called me to do. He impressed
me to write a book on prayer and fasting, The Coming Revival, Americas
Call To Fast, Pray, and Seek Gods Face. He called me to invite
Christian leaders to come and pray with me in Orlando in December
1994. That was the beginning of a movement worldwide.
There is a deep sense of the tragic disintegration of the morals
of America and that is what prompted me to seek Gods face. I
realized that all the things were doing are not enough. God
doesnt have to help; but, for those who humble themselves and
cry out to God to be merciful to them, as sinners, God hears. Ive
seen the dramatic results in pastors and individuals; ministries and
churches have been revolutionized.
Evangel: What is the relationship between fasting and global evangelism?
Bright: Fasting is preparing your heart for greater intimacy
with God. You dont earn brownie points. We already have the
unlimited and inexhaustible love and favor of God. When we seek His
face as it says in 2 Chronicles 7:14, "If my people, who
are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my
face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven
and will forgive their sin and will heal their land" (NIV)
we develop an intimacy we dont experience any other way. God
hears our prayers like He heard Jesus prayers. The disciples
couldnt cast out demons. Jesus said it comes by prayer and fasting.
Jesus fasted 40 days. He gave the Great Commission: "Teach what
I taught you."
I strongly admonish every young pastor, seminarian and leader to
fast at least one 40-day period of their lives.
Evangel: How does this apply to the individual believer?
Bright: It sharpens the believer to be salt and light in a
way that he or she may not be if everything was business as usual.
It gives one a greater sensitivity to God, to His Word and for lost
Evangel: What do you say to the person who struggles to maintain
Bright: Just fast one moment at a time. Remember, youre
fasting to seek Gods face. Humble yourself. I encourage an individual
to realize Jesus not only did it himself, but also commanded us to
do what He did.
Fasting is good for your physical body. Fasting is a marvelous way
of bringing healing to your body. When Satan seeks to discourage and
frustrate you, just fast and pray the Lord Jesus will help
I recommend water and fruit and vegetable juices without added sugar.
I wouldnt recommend water only without medical attention.
Evangel: Did you experience healing in your body during one of
Bright: I wasnt sick to my knowledge; but, as the 40
days progressed, I became aware that little arthritic pains in my
hands had lessened. So my physical body benefited from the fast. I
wasnt even hungry for the 40 days.
Sometimes Satan makes you feel its a great sacrifice, but its
really a great blessing. When my wife and I fasted together, our relationship
with our Lord was enhanced and our relationship with each other was
enhanced. You never lose.
Evangel: What sins should the American church be repenting from
as it fasts?
Bright: The sins of gross disobedience; of insulting God by
removing the Bible and prayer from schools, the way our founding fathers
established it. Christ was Lord of Harvard, Princeton and Yale
all the major universities. God was expelled from schools in the 60s;
by the 70s we were legalizing the murder of unborn babies. That
continual posture has brought great dishonor to our Lord and our nation.
Evangel: Do you see hope for the church in this new millennium?
Bright: I see great hope. The situation is very dark now,
but there are glimmers of light. I am optimistic well see revival.
Evangel: What is your bottom line on prayer and fasting?
Bright: The final word: Every believer should take seriously
the admonition to fast and pray. Again, Jesus commands us to do what
He did, and that included a 40-day fast. God would never command you
to do anything without His blessing and ability. I would strongly
admonish anyone who is able-bodied not diabetic or hypoglycemic
to one 40-day fast for the advancement of the Great Commission