In February 2016, Sydney and I began a friendship with a couple named Muriithi and Carol Wanjau and their three amazing children. I could fill an entire book with stories about this incredible family, but for the sake of time and space, I’ll share just one. The Wanjaus have been positioned by God in Nairobi, Kenya, and they lead one of the most amazing networks of churches I have ever seen. Our friendship with this family began that year when we got to spend several weeks with them and many of their global leaders who had gathered in Nairobi for a time of training and fellowship.
Sydney and I were blown away by what we saw during our time there with our Kenyan brothers and sisters. Their love for God, their passion for reaching the lost, and their commitment to living holy, counter-cultural lives were just a few of the things that blessed our hearts and challenged our thinking in ways we never expected. To top it off, the prayer life of our Kenyan brothers and sisters impacted me in a profound way.
This is an excerpt from Revival Starts Here: A Short Conversation on Prayer, Fasting, and Revival for Beginners Like Me by Dave Clayton. Learn more about this book and order here.
One day, as Sydney and I were riding to the store with Carol, we were picking her brain about the spiritual vibrancy of their church network. We wanted to know why the Christians in their circle seemed to be so alive for Jesus. She was quick to remind us that there are no “silver bullets” when it comes to spiritual development, but she went on to share an important spiritual rhythm that has transformed their churches and community for the better. I will never forget what she said:
“Dave and Sydney, much of what you see here is the simple result of prayer and fasting. We consistently practice the communal act of self-denial [fasting] so we will have the strength and clarity that is needed to live faithfully for Jesus in a culture that is obsessed with self-gratification.”
That moment in the car with Carol is when many of the puzzle pieces began to click in our hearts. Little did we know that our family had arrived in Kenya on the last day of a month-long fast that the Wanjaus and their churches lean into every January. In fact, they spend nearly three months out of every year devoted to the Lord in prayer and fasting. Young and old, male and female, rich and poor, children and adults—all who are willing and able—commit themselves to a full-throttled pursuit of God above everything else through prayer and fasting.
The result of that devotion is inspiring to say the least.
I remember leaving Kenya thinking to myself, If that is the kind of faith that prayer and fasting can help produce, then why have I given such little attention to this particular dimension of life with God?
I’m convinced there are times when God will use someone else’s life to ignite something wonderful and new inside us. Like a match in the hand of God, their life becomes the spark for igniting a new season of wonder and growth deep within us. I often thank God for our friends in Kenya and the way he used them to ignite a hunger for prayer and fasting in our family and church.
This is an excerpt from Revival Starts Here by Dave Clayton. Learn more about this book and order here.
Dave Clayton is a follower of Jesus, husband to Sydney, and dad to Micah, Jack, and Judah. He lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where he helps lead Ethos Church, Onward Church Planting, and Awaken Nashville. Dave is passionate about making disciples, planting churches, and awakening a movement for the glory of God, the joy of the church, and the good of the multitudes who don’t yet know Jesus.