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2002 Conversations


Ron McManus: Leadership center launched (December 30, 2001)

Norman Arnesen: History's supreme event (December 23, 2001)

Dr. Everett Bartholf: Help for the holidays (December 16, 2001)

"Auntie" Anne Beiler: God has a plan (December 9, 2001)

Mary Inman: Raising seven sons for Christ (November 25, 2001)

Tony Hall: Feeding the hungry, one person at a time (Novemer 18, 2001)

John Maracle: A growing Native American Fellowship (November 11, 2001)

Al Peterson: Praying for national leaders (October 28, 2001)

Beverly LaHaye: The family is God's gift (October 21, 2001)

Terry Meeuwsen: Putting family first (October 14, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Changing the world, one student at a time (September 30, 2001)

Nate Cole: You are not alone (September 16, 2001)

George Cope: Training pastors, missionaries and evangelists (September 9, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: Breaking down the barriers (August 26, 2001)

John Kilpatrick: The blessings and challenges of revival (August 19, 2001)

Marie Colwill: A passion for evangelism (August 12, 2001)

Lottie Riekehof: The Joy of Signing (July 22, 2001)

John Castellani: Teen Challenge: The Jesus factor (July 15, 2001)

Mike and John Tompkins: Publishing newspapers and proclaiming the Good News (July 8, 2001)

Chuck Girard: Music, marriage and ministry (June 24, 2001)

Stanley Burgess: The value of a godly father (June 17, 2001)

Dennis Franck: Single Adult Ministries Agency (June 10, 2001)

Thomas E. Trask: The work of the Holy Spirit (May 27, 2001)

Stephen Tourville: The changing church in America (May 20, 2001)

Margaret Columbia: Raising 17 children for Christ (May 13, 2001)

Donna Fahrenkopf: Wanted: a life change (April 29, 2001)

Sean Smith: Spiritual attacks on young people (April 22, 2001)

Josh McDowell: Is the Bible true? (April 15, 2001)

Joyce Meyer: Being a practical Christain (April 8, 2001)

Paul Drost: Multiplication (March 18, 2001)

Bill Bright: Fasting for 40 days (March 11, 2001)

Beth Grant: Women in ministry (February 25, 2001)

Alicia Chole: His people and His presence (February 18, 2001)

Cris Carter: Playing on God's team (January 28, 2001)

Randall K. O'Bannon: The value of life (January 21, 2001)

Dennis Gaylor: Secular colleges: a vital mission field (January 14, 2001)

Fasting for 40 days

(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 global evangelism.

Evangel: You recently announced your retirement as director of Campus Crusade for Christ, International. How will your retirement impact your role in global evangelism?

Bright: Not retirement, refirement. I’m simply passing the torch of the presidency of Campus Crusade for Christ. I’m still involved in many things.

One of the additional things I’m doing is promoting fasting and prayer for worldwide revival. Everything I’m doing now — the emphasis on prayer and fasting worldwide and training – will dramatically accelerate everything I’ve 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. I’ve had seven since, one each year, to intercede for revival. I would say it was God’s timing. I’ve 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, America’s Call To Fast, Pray, and Seek God’s 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 God’s face. I realized that all the things we’re doing are not enough. God doesn’t have to help; but, for those who humble themselves and cry out to God to be merciful to them, as sinners, God hears. I’ve 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 don’t 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 don’t experience any other way. God hears our prayers like He heard Jesus’ prayers. The disciples couldn’t 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 souls.

Evangel: What do you say to the person who struggles to maintain a fast?

Bright: Just fast one moment at a time. Remember, you’re fasting to seek God’s 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 you.

I recommend water and fruit and vegetable juices without added sugar. I wouldn’t recommend water only without medical attention.

Evangel: Did you experience healing in your body during one of these fasts?

Bright: I wasn’t 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 wasn’t even hungry for the 40 days.

Sometimes Satan makes you feel it’s a great sacrifice, but it’s 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 we’ll 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 and revival.

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