American Churches Begin 2011 with Prayer, Fasting

Many American Christians will participate in prayer and fasting initiatives this month to seek spiritual revival in their personal relationship with God and for their nation.

The Awakening America Alliance, a broad coalition of over 300 denominations, is calling for a period of 21 days of corporate prayer and fasting during January 2011. During those 21 days, chosen by the individual, participants will seek personal transformation as well as an awakening of this generation to Christ.

"America's greatest need is spiritual," said Billy Wilson, executive director of the International Center for Spiritual Renewal at the Awakening America Alliance. "Millions of Americans now teeter on the precipice of spiritual destruction surrounded by darkness. Radical action will be required for the American church to experience the renewal needed to rescue them."

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This is the Alliance's third annual "21 Days for A New Awakening" initiative.

Another separate 21 days of prayer, fasting and personal devotion initiative called the Awakening will take place from Jan. 10-30. The Awakening was started by Pastor Stovall Weems, lead pastor of Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Fla., which is one of the top 100 fastest growing churches in the country.

Churches across the country, reportedly representing in total over 1 million people, have already signed on to participate in this year's Awakening experience. Past participants of the season of prayer and fasting include Ed Young, lead pastor of Fellowship Church in Grapevine, Texas; Craig Groeschel, lead pastor of, in Oklahoma City, Okla.; Rick Bezet, lead pastor of New Life Church in Little Rock, Ark.; and Matt Fry, lead pastor of C3 Church in Clayton, N.C.

"In a world filled with Twitter, Facebook and so much noise and clutter we easily get distracted and gunked up spiritually," said Pastor Stovall Weems in a statement. "But, through fasting and an emphasis on prayer, we can hit the reset button and find the thriving life God promises. I promise this year will be the best of your life if it is your best year spiritually."

The 21-day prayer and fasting commitment is a tradition at Weems' Celebration Church.

Weems recently released a book called Awakening: A New Approach to Faith, Fasting and Spiritual Freedom, which walks Christians through how to recharge their spiritual life with a 21-day guide focusing on prayer and fasting. The book, released just ahead of the Awakening, teaches readers about the spiritual and health benefits of fasting and rebuts some misperceptions about the practice.

"Regardless of where you are in your journey with God," said Weems. "'Awakening' will take you to the next level in your relationship with God."

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