More than 1,700 churches representing nearly a million believers kicked off the second annual One Prayer movement, hoping to accomplish more of God's work together than on their own.
One Prayer, the brainchild of LifeChurch.tv's Craig Groeschel, joins together churches from across the globe for four weeks of prayer, fasting, sharing sermons and changing lives.
"At this point in history, technology allows us to be more connected than ever before, and the Church is leveraging that by sharing resources, ideas, and supporting each other in ways that weren't possible in the past," said Lori Bailey, director of Communications for LifeChurch.tv.
Over the weekend, participating congregations all heard messages centered on this year's theme "God Is ..." either through their own pastors or through pre-recorded video teachings of other pastors.
LifeChurch.tv, one of the most innovative and fastest growing churches in the country, brought in Pastor Francis Chan of Cornerstone Church in Simi Valley, Calif., to kick off their One Prayer series.
Chan's message to the tens of thousands of Christians who heard him this past weekend and who are going to listen from different parts of the world over the next few weeks is "God is strong."
"We have this all powerful, amazing, strong God," Chan said. "And because we don't focus on Him enough, I see ... churches filled with people who are scared ... and weak."
"How many people would use 'powerful' to describe believers?" the highly-sought speaker posed, noting that Christians are more often cowards unlike the fearless believers described in the Bible.
David and Goliath, Daniel and the lion's den, and Joshua and Caleb are just some of the powerful Bible stories many Christians grew up with.
That spirit of boldness and faith in a powerful God clearly depicted in the Scriptures, however, is largely absent from believers today.
"We just start looking at ourselves rather than looking at the Holy Spirit of God," Chan said. "We need to remember who we worship."
Through the One Prayer movement, Christians have begun to take bold steps of faith not only in their own churches but also in communities around them and in needy countries far from them.
Last year, One Prayer churches helped plant more than 660 churches in Cambodia, southern India, Sudan and China. Over 7,000 individuals have been baptized so far and more than 44,000 are currently in Bible studies. This year, One Prayer is building on the momentum and aiming to plant another 500 churches in the same target areas plus 100 more in northern India where Christians have been attacked by Hindu extremists over the last year.
Additionally, church planters in the existing One Prayer network will be equipped to begin holistic community transformation initiatives such as literacy instruction, micro-financing training, health education, clean water, and decent housing with the goal of improving the people's living standards.
The One Prayer movement began last summer not so much out of a passion for unity but more out of repentance, Groeschel explained then. Seeing the Church largely divided today and churches often competing with one another, Groeschel felt the need to bring God's people together to be an answer to Jesus' prayer ("Father, make them one").
This year's One Prayer can be followed on Facebook, Twitter and the website 2009.oneprayer.com.