Southern Baptist Convention President Steve Gaines has called Southern Baptists to 21 days of prayer and fasting leading up to the SBC annual meeting in Phoenix, Christian Telegraph reports according to Baptist Press.
The fast will begin May 23 and end June 12, the day preceding the June 13-14 SBC annual meeting, Gaines announced on May 18 in a written call to prayer. He defined fasting as "doing without something in order to focus more attention on the Lord Jesus and His Kingdom," adding that "prayer and fasting are essentials in the Christian life."
Gaines, pastor of Memphis-area Bellevue Baptist Church in Cordova, Tenn., urged all Southern Baptists to participate in the fast. Some may feel called to "go without food for 21 days and just drink liquids," he wrote. Others may opt to "eat less than normal and drink only water," skip one meal per day for 21 days or fast from a technology like television.
"While no one knows exactly how or why God uses our prayers and fasting, no one who believes the Bible can doubt that He does," Gaines wrote. "... God does things when we pray and fast that He does not do if we don't pray and fast."
Among the prayer requests Gaines asked Southern Baptists to emphasize: "an outpouring of God's manifest presence" in Phoenix; "the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace"; the salvation of many souls at the June 11 Harvest America crusade with evangelist Greg Laurie; and divine blessing for the June 11-12 SBC Pastors' Conference and the SBC annual meeting.