21 Days of Prayer and Fasting: What breakthrough are you seeking?

God’s people all over the world have been seeking spiritual breakthroughs through prayer and fasting since the birth of the church. What is a great matter in front of you? A loved one far from Christ? A critical decision in the life of your family? A relationship that is falling apart?

What great matters are in front of your church or ministry? An evangelistic outreach? A financial crisis? A leadership transition? Missional expansion?

In the 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting guide, Gary Rohrmayer introduces you to the rich spiritual discipline of fasting through the Holy Scriptures and the great Christian thinkers throughout the ages.

Our prayer for you during these 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting is that you will experience a deeper craving for the beauty of the Lord, the wonder of his leading in your life, the fullness of the Holy Spirit and the favor of God as you have never known before.

We invite you, your church leaders, pastors, staff and congregation to join us for 21 Days of Prayer.

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Practical Advice for Doing a 21-Day Prayer Campaign

  1. Devote one month to this Prayer Initiative – Fall (August, September or October) Winter (January, February or March)
  2. Preach a four-week sermon series on prayer:
    • Sermon #1 – Introduction to series and 21-day devotional book.
    • The next three sermons can be ideas from the book to reinforce it in the lives of your people.
  3. Read Article – Ten Practical Steps to Creating Momentum with your team and see how you can maximize your efforts.
  4. Invite them to courageously pray for friends and family who are far from Jesus.
    • Have them generate a list of five friends or family members to pray for during the 21 days.
    • Invite them to courageously pray for a list of church-wide prayer goals.
    • Leadership –  develop five to six prayer goals for the church for your members to pray for during the 21 days.
  5. Hold a series of corporate prayer meetings or a concert of prayer.
  6. Purchase the 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting books at a discount from Converge MidAmerica to give out free to your people or just simply charge them $1.00.

21 Days of Prayer and Fasting Sermon Ideas

Text: Mathew 6:16-18
Summary: Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote, “Jesus takes it for granted that his disciples will observe the pious custom of fasting. Strict exercise of self-control is an essential feature of the Christian’s life. Such customs have only one purpose – to make the disciples more ready and cheerful to accomplish those things which God would have done.”  We see in our text that Jesus did not say,  “if you fast” but said, “when you fast”.  Fasting is not an option but it is an assumption for the serious-minded follower of Jesus.   In our text today we can glean three takeaways concerning fasting from Jesus.
  1. Fasting is a discipline that can be turned into a habit. Vs. 16
  2. In fasting, it is virtuous to conceal our suffering and discomfort. Vs. 16
  3. The rewards of fasting are mysterious. Vs 17-18
Application: For the serious-minded follower of Jesus, fasting is a consistent habit. In a world filled with indulgences we need, on a routine basis, to consciously lay aside our freedoms in Christ for the purpose of seeking the face of God, intimacy with the Son of God and fullness of the Holy Spirit.  How will start making fasting a habit in your life?
Invitation: Join us over the next 21 days as we seek the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit through fasting.  Pick up one of the 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting books as we together, as a family of faith, seek to God’s face and look to be aligned with His purposes.
Text: Acts 13:1-4
Summary: The Church in the City of Antioch is one of the healthiest churches we see in the New Testament.  It was experiencing God’s favor and tremendous conversion growth (Acts 11:21). The power of God’s grace clearly evident (Acts 11:23).  They were impacting the culture of their city (Acts 11:26) and they experienced deep compassion and generosity (Acts 11:27-30).  Yet the leaders of this church were not satisfied and in Acts 13 we see them worshiping, fasting and praying for God’s guidance.  Deep in their spirits, they were longing to answer the question: What is next?  They were a healthy, vibrant local church impacting their community and yet there was a restlessness, an earnest desire to be more and more a part of God’s redemptive plan in this world.  This was their Antioch Moment. Here are four things we can learn from their experience when it comes to fasting.
  1. Fasting was done in Community.  Vs 1
  2. Fasting was not an Option for Followers of Jesus.  Vs. 2-3
  3. Fasting, along with worship and prayer was used to seek God’s direction. Vs. 2
  4. Fasting helped them align their lives and resources with God’s purposes. Vs. 3-4 
Application: Have you as a follower of Jesus experienced an Antioch Moment?   Are you dissatisfied with your Christian experience?  Are you asking the question: What’s next?  What about us as a church?  Are we ready and willing to ask God want is next for us as a local church?
Invitation: Join us over the next 21 days as we trust God for our Antioch Moment.  Pick up one of the 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting books as we together, as a family of faith, seek to God’s direction in how we can be more and more active in God’s redemptive work in our world.
Text: Zechariah 7:1-14
Summary: After 20 years of a frustrating building project, Zechariah encourages God’s people with 8 prophet visions. In hearing these prophetic words of encouragement a delegation is sent to meet with Zechariah with a question about continuing various fasts that were held during the exile. Today I believe there are 4 insights on true fasting we can glean from both their question and Zechariah’s response to this question.
  1. True fasting involves: Humbly seeking God’s favor. Vs 2
  2. True fasting involves: Moving beyond an empty ritual. Vs 3
  3. True fasting involves: Seeks God’s desires above my own. Vs.4-6
  4. True fasting involves: Obedience to God’s revealed word. Vs 7-14
Application: Fasting without a humble petition is nothing but an empty ritual. You never see fasting without prayer but you do see prayer without fasting. Fasting is deliberately abstaining from the normal routines of life for the purposes of spending focus time in prayer and the study of God’s word as we seek to align our lives God’s purposes.  You can abstain from food, entertainment, social media for the purpose of spending in praying and seeking God.  In this fasting is more about replacing than it is about abstaining. Instead of eating a meal you take your meal time and give it to God through extended prayer and feeding on His Word.  Instead of watching your favorite television program you take that time and offer it to God reflecting on your relationship with Him and your spiritual progress as a disciple.  Fasting without extended times in prayer and God’s word is simply a diet.
Invitation: Join us over the next 21 days as we trust God for a spiritual breakthrough that will lift us to a new level of faith.  Pick up one of the 21 Days of Prayer & Fasting books as we together, as a family of faith, seek to intensify our prayers with fasting.
Text: Selected
Summary:  Strengthening our prayer life through fasting is one of the ways that helps us align our lives and our churches in what God is doing around us. There are several biblical reasons why one should engage in a personal fast. One of those is to strengthen our prayer life. Ezra says that the people of God, “…fasted and petitioned God…” (Ezra 8:23) to overcome the challenges that they were facing.

Nehemiah testifies to the fact that he “fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Nehemiah 1:4) as he responded to God’s call on his life.

Daniel also strengthened his prayer life as he devoted himself to God “…in prayer, petition, in fasting…” (Daniel 9:3).

Isaiah wrote that one of the results of true fasting would be God breaking through in our lives. “Then your light will break forth like the dawn…then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday” (Isaiah 58:8-10) By aligning our hearts with God through fasting we find ourselves consumed by His resplendent nature. This breakthrough comes when He strengthens our prayers and He burst through the darkness of our confusion with the light of His love, joy, and peace. 

How does fasting strengthen our prayers?

  1. It brings us to a stronger sense of humility & dependence on God and God alone to provide.  (Psalm 69:10)
  2. It heightens the seriousness of our prayers. (I Samuel 7:6)
  3. It creates a new level of urgency for prayer and God’s answer. (Ezra 8:23)
  4. It brings a greater sense of focus & clarity to our prayers. (Psalm 35:13)
  5. It removes all the fluff in our prayers. (Psalm 35:13)
  6. It can lead to a deeper level of community with those who join us in our fasting & praying.  (Nehemiah 9:1-3)

Application: Will you make fasting a regular habit in your prayer life?  It will definitely change the way you pray! Donald Whitney writes, “Fasting does not change God’s hearing so much as it changes our praying.” 

Invitation: Over the last 21 days we have trusted God for a spiritual breakthrough. It has been our prayer that you would receive a fasting testimony. Would you take time this week and share with us how God has revealed Himself to you over the last 21 days?