Former professional soccer player Matthew Maher would start the beginning of each year, from 2011 to 2014, fasting for 21 days – while in prison.
His career spanned a couple of seasons, ending because of a knee injury on March 1, 2009. Just six days later, Maher was driving drunk when he hit and killed a man. Maher was sentenced to five and a half years in prison in January 2010.
While serving 4 years and 7 months, Maher said he returned back to the foundation of faith that he grew up in with his family.
A big part of Maher’s testimony includes how fasting helped transform him into a man sold out for God.
“While in prison, it was starting the year off with a 21 day fast that helped give the clarity and spiritual enthusiasm that would be birthed out of hunger and thirsting for the Lord,” he said. “All at the same time, ultimately abstaining or saying ‘no’ to the things of the world or flesh.”
“Fasting and praying became part of my weekly rhythms,” Maher told Think Eternity. “I would fast for 21 days, not only about what God was doing in my life, but I wanted to consecrate the first part of the year, those 21 days to the Lord.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.”
– Matthew 5:6
After leaving prison, Maher dived deep into ministry work, including creating Truth Over Trend, which has a mission to “inspire conscience and instigate conviction.” Maher is also a teaching pastor at Coastal Christian Church in Ocean City, New Jersey, and is a highly sought-after speaker.
Maher joined the Roaring Twenties Fast in 2020 and said the movement has been “right down my spiritual alley.”
He believes that as Christians focus on seeking God at a personal level that will lead to revival at a worldwide level.
“There are people all across the country fasting, and 2020 is like this line of demarcation that we can all look back on and say, ‘The world has changed and it’s not snapping back,’” he said. “We are in desperate need of a revival for people who call themselves Christians to return to a biblical understanding, ultimately, to return to a biblical Jesus.”
“I want more of God. The fastest way to encounter more of God at a deeper level is fasting.” – Malachi O’Brien, Roaring Twenties Fast 2022
Pastor Mike Kai of the multi-site Inspire Church in Hawaii said that in his personal life, fasting and prayer have helped bring “a wayward daughter home to Jesus” and has strengthened his marriage commitment.
“God is making me more sensitive to the Holy Spirit, whether it be through intermittent fasting or conventional fasting,” Kai said. “Prayer sets the tone, but fasting sets the pace.”
Jentezen Franklin, a leading voice in the fasting movement and best-selling author, states “We must get to the place where we are desperate for God again. We must begin to desire Him more than food or drink. Let us be filled with the Bread of Life instead of the refuse of religion. Begin to make fasting a regular discipline, and see how God answers your hunger!”
Southern California pastor, Shane Idleman. is extending the call from Roaring Twenties Fast 2022 leaders asking for one million people, especially young people to fast and pray at the beginning of the new year and throughout the decade.
In October 2021, Idleman said his church was called out to pray and fast. Church was held every evening for two weeks at 6 pm.
“The atmosphere, at times, was overwhelming,” he said. “We had a full altar call, dozens of baptisms, and countless lives changed. As the old-timers used to say, ‘God heard our cries and showed up today.’”
Why fast? Idleman’s answer to the question: “Hunger for food is replaced by hunger for God.”