Chad Harrington reviews Revival Starts Here by Dave Clayton to help leaders decide about using this book for their discipleship group or church.
For those who want a breakthrough in their relationship with God, fasting combined with prayer could be the way God draws you to go into deeper waters with him. Dave Clayton’s book Revival Starts Here offers individuals, discipleship groups, and churches an incredibly simple resource for learning to fast and pray, especially for revival in their city. It was used in the 2019 and 2020 Awaken Nashville initiatives, where 400 and 719 churches in those years prayed and fasted for the lost together. Be inspired and equipped to fast and pray as a group by using Revival Starts Here.
The main message of this book is that prayer and fasting can take you to greater depths with God than you might have previously imagined.
Before we get into the review, I’ll let you know that I’m the publisher for this book. As such, I can tell you that I’ve walked closely with Dave because of this book, and he’s the real deal. He led the Awaken initiatives in Nashville, and he’s a humble visionary with an inspiring relationship with God.
My Three Biggest Takeaways from the Book
1. This is a powerful and important message.
My heart was longing for something more, and this book loosened something in my heart that I still don’t understand.
When Dave came to me to edit this book, it ended up blowing up very quickly, in a good way. Over 400 churches used it to pray and fast, just months later.
One early morning while I was editing Revival Starts Here, a well of emotion, an awakening, came over me. I attempted to push it down and remain in work mode, but I eventually had to set my computer aside and weep.
It’s rare that I weep for half an hour. My wife came in a thought someone had died, but the truth is:
Something had been awakened in my soul.
I was editing the part of the book when Dave tells of an experience he had hearing from God during prayer and fasting. He heard God as him, “What would you do if your son Judah went missing?” Dave responded that he wouldn’t stop looking until he found his son.
Then God responded with “David, your city is filled with my missing children. I want you to wake up the search-and-rescue teams to join me in looking for them.”
Dave soon realized the Lord was calling him to pray for every household in Nashville. In 2019, 400 churches prayed for the lost in Nashville, praying for every resident by name. The next year, in 2020, HIM Publications added to Revival Starts Here the companion book, Jesus Next Door, and 719 churches prayed and fasted together.
I tell that story to show how powerful and important the message of Revival Starts Here is for the church today.
2. Most people need help learning how to fast.
The assumption of Revival Starts Here is true: Most of us don’t know how to fast and pray. This book helps people start from ground zero. Dave Clayton helps you work through barriers and consider potential breakthroughs, plus form your own plan starting from where you’re at. The subtitle of the book is “A Short Conversation on Prayer, Fasting, and Revival for beginners like me.” That’s a true statement: This book is directed toward people who are just beginning their journey with fasting, and that’s why this resource is so powerful for groups of all types.
3. Some things, like revival, come only through fasting and prayer.
Anecdotally, from Awaken Nashville 2019 and 2020, I can tell you that prayer and fasting opened up incredible doors for people in Nashville and beyond: miracles, spiritual revelations, divine appointments, salvation, and repentance. I don’t have a verse in Scripture that says this exact statement—that some things come only through fasting and prayer—but it lines up with principles and stories in Scripture and it’s true in my experience: When you add fasting to your prayer life, some things like revival that were previously a ceiling you could not rise above no longer limit your progress toward intimacy and power in Christ.
How to Use Revival Starts Here with Your Group
I suggest doing a church-wide series if possible to preach through this book in preparation for a season of prayer and fasting. A sermon series suite of graphics is available for free here, which includes sermon series outlines, plus social media posts and slide templates. Plan a five- to six-week series for your church. If you use it with just a small group, you can do the same five to six weeks, just without the sermon series.
Vital Information about Revival Starts Here
- Chapter Count? 6 chapters
- Weeks of Study? 5–7 weeks
- Recommended size of group? 3–12 people
- Age of target audience? Youth and Adults
- Gender specific? No
- Reader difficulty? 4 out of 10
- Appropriate for New Believers? Yes
- What level of maturity does this assume? Readers should be hungry for evangelism and ready for God to awaken them to something more.
Housekeeping on Revival Starts Here
- Discussion questions in the book? Yes
- Homework required? No
- Video series available? No
Theology of Revival Starts Here
- Theological red flags? No
- Denominationally specific content? No
- Author’s preferred Bible translation? NIV
- Publisher? HIM Publications, 2019
What can Revival Starts Here accomplish for your group?
- Get ready to pray and fast for the lost as a group.
- Feel God’s heart for the lost.
- Overcome common barriers to fasting.
- Understand the importance of fasting as a disciple of prayer.
- Get a practical tool for yourself, your family, and your group for fasting.
Recommended Purchase Links for Revival Starts Here
Keep this tool free by using our affiliate links!
- Buy from HIM Publications here!
- Buy on Christianbook here.
- Buy on Amazon here (audiobook available).
My Favorite Quotes from Revival Starts Here
Read below my favorite quotes from the book:
- Page 15: “We should be quite concerned when the church begins to act like the world.”
- P. 42: “Your level of preparation reveals your expectation.”
- P. 46 “We must actually take action if we want to experience the blessings of fasting and prayer.”
- P. 6: “I believe it is possible—dare I say common—for many Christians to spend their entire life ‘believing in God’ without ever attempting anything in life that actually requires them to exercise their faith.”
- P. 29: “If fasting was such a big deal to God’s people and to God’s Son, then why
was it not a bigger deal to me?”
- P. 55 “I sensed the Lord saying, ‘David, your city is filled with my missing children. I want you to wake up the search-and-rescue teams to join me in looking for them.’”
- P. 6: “I don’t know about you, but I want to be the kind of person who keeps pushing out toward the open waters with God.”
- P. 19: “I’ve come to believe that prayer and fasting are not only a way but the way for the American church to faithfully step into the future with God.”
P. 20 “Fasting is not ultimately about what we let go of but who we will let take hold of us.”
- P. 40 “As we empty our stomachs for a season, we often become more aware of the emptiness in our souls.”
- P. 59: “I believe we will see the church filled with the Spirit of God in such a mighty way that our love for God and our love for neighbor will only be accurately described as a ‘supernatural impartation of love.’”
- P. 59: “I believe we will see people from every nation and race coming together under the name of Jesus in an unprecedented wave of unity.”
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