As a pastor who has struggled with keeping my own heart lined up with Jesus, Stovall Weemsâ€™ book Awakening is more than stirring inspiration. It is obviously the product of this manâ€™s own infectious passion for the Lord. Through this small volume, you are invited into an intimate encounter with a very personal Lord. Iâ€™m reminded of the young Apostle John leaning on his Masterâ€™s breast during that final evening before He was crucified. Here is a tenderness that is exciting, but thereâ€™s more. I struggle to tell you that the book is pragmatic or practical because so many of the books and sermons described by those words are merely instruction for the flesh can look more spiritual. No, thatâ€™s not what we find in these pages!
Awakening introduces the basics of prayer and fasting â€“ not as discipline â€“ but as a privileged means toward increasing our awareness of the ever-present reality of the Lord. It is not another one of those â€œformula for lifeâ€ books. Instead of the regimented approach that drains away our joy, Stovall Weems gives us an open doorway into discovering the excitement of spontaneous, abundant living. When we become aware of the Lord working in our lives right now, we also grow in our expectation that He has great plans for our tomorrows.
In additional to solid motivation from scripture, personal testimony, quotations from familiar people of the past, and the experiences of a variety of others, Weems also provides valuable guidance about conducting a 21-day time of fasting and prayer. This includes a basic 21-day devotional guide. He also provides a brief guide for small group discussion during the 21-day period. Weems gives us solid guidance regarding the implications and essential preparations concerning the health impact of fasting itself.
The format of the book is simple, with accents on key ideas boxed within its pages. Many of these pithy statements are valuable for a quick review of the whole.
Iâ€™m certainly not someone who has included fasting as a part of my life, largely because I just didnâ€™t see the point. After all, the first voice Jesus heard on His 40 day fast was not the Father! Like so many today, Iâ€™m more accustomed to prayer breakfasts than prayer and fasting. So, Iâ€™m biased against the basic content of the book. However, the author has succeeded in stirring my curiosity about an option that has been neglected for my entire Christian life. If his approach had been some of the standard legalism that is often associated with longer fasts, Iâ€™m sure I would have just become hostile. As it is, Iâ€™m intrigued enough to at least desire to give it a try.