Thousands of Christians Fast for God-Centered Year

Over 300 churches are hoping to make a tremendous impact on the body of Christ and throughout the world through 21 days of prayer and fasting.

Stovall Weems, pastor of Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Fla., has led his fast-growing congregation in a season of seeking God at the beginning of every year to set a "supernatural, miraculous tone" for the entire year. For 2009, he has extended the invitation to all churches and individuals for a more powerful impact.

"I believe it's going to take a lot of churches coming together like we are now and making a statement that we believe in prayer and fasting as a crucial core component to the success of the Church and the advancement of the kingdom of God," Weems said in a video message.

"And if we can send that message loud and clear," he continued, "I believe that several churches across America and around the world ... are going to say 'We've got to seek God. It's more than just the music; it's more than the best practices; it's more than just having good programs. It's about seeking God. That is the foundation for us being successful.'"

The prayer and fasting campaign, dubbed Awake 21, kicked off on Jan. 11 and organizers have made available a website with resources on the different types of fasts, daily devotionals, and messages from renowned Christian leaders such as the late Bill Bright and Jentezen Franklin.

For 21 days, thousands will be going without food, certain meals, television, Internet or "anything that feeds your flesh-man."

"It's really not about the food. It's about denying your flesh-man the things that feed it," Chris Hodges of Church of the Highlands Birmingham, Ala., stressed.

And by denying the body what it wants or craves, David Branker, executive pastor at Celebration Church, believes fasting "will strengthen our hearts God-ward."

On a similar note, Weems added, "Jesus said ... some things only change through prayer and fasting. We can harness and leverage the power of prayer and fasting and we can align ourselves with what God wants to do not only in our churches, not only in our leadership, but what He wants to do in America and around the world."

Weems, whose church draws thousands of people on multiple campuses including an Internet campus, believes the unity of churches through the Awake 21 campaign could create powerful results, including a record year of salvations, of kingdom expansion and other great things.

Churches and individuals are invited to participate even after the kickoff and set their own dates.

"We're hoping to inspire hundreds, possibly thousands of churches to make prayer and fasting a regular part of their culture," Weems noted.

On the Web: awake21.org