Engaging the Leadership of Jesus with 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting
The Challenge of Comfort
North American followers of Jesus and the modern church often lack nothing, which clouds our view of what we need most in our relationship with Jesus. Therefore, a posture of being hungry for the bread of life (John 6:35) draws us closer to our need for dependence on Jesus through fasting and praying.
May we have the courage to overcome our complacency for comfort and seek the leadership of Jesus in our day and in our home. Use the following as a guide and resource to get started on your journey.
Lord, I have heard of your fame; I stand in awe of your deeds, Lord. Repeat them in our day, in our time make them known; in wrath remember mercy.HABAKKUK 3:2
“When they found him on the other side of the lake, they asked him, “Rabbi, when did you get here?”
Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill. Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For him, God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”
Then they asked him, “What must we do to do the works God requires?”
Jesus answered, “The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.”
So they asked him, “What sign then will you give that we may see it and believe you? What will you do?
Our ancestors ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written: ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus said to them, “Very truly I tell you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is the bread that comes down from heaven and gives life to the world.”
“Sir,” they said, “always give us this bread.”
Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. But as I told you, you have seen me and still, you do not believe.” JOHN 6:25-35
The focus of this Engaging the Leadership of Jesus Fasting outline is on the pragmatics of practicing the habits of prayer and fasting, so that we will be drawn closer into His presence and purpose as we point people to Jesus in all the places we live, work, and play.
May we remember what Jesus said, “Take my yoke (teaching) upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”
The leadership of Jesus is not a burden, it is intended to bring blessing and breakthrough in our life. The modern life we live is full of demands that are cumbersome, but when we learn to engage the leadership of Jesus we become people who are filled with the abundant life that is promised when we trust and obey his leadership.
Engaging the leadership of Jesus is submitting to learn and do the things that Jesus did to have a transformational encounter and experience with Jesus.
Remember what happened when Jesus was tempted by Satan?
“Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said…”
“Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him.” Matthew 4:1-3, 9, 10.
Jesus was incredibly connected to the Father after 40 days of prayer and fasting that the three temptation/s were overcome and he rebuked the power of Satan in his life. In order to have the abundant life that Jesus has promised we have to be incredibly connected to the Father and be able to rebuke the power of Satan in our lives.
Jesus was connected to his Father in the supernatural through prayer and he was disconnected from all the allures, desire, and flesh of the natural by choosing to fast.
Why Fast and Pray?
The simple answer to remember during this journey is…
• Prayer connects us to our Father in a supernatural realm.
• Fasting disconnects us from the world and the natural desires of the flesh.
• Jesus modeled what was to happen after he left the first disciples.
Fasting without prayer is a diet. Fasting and praying is engaging the Divine.Lantz Howard
Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.” MATTHEW 9:15
When I heard these things I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” NEHEMIAH 1:4
“if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
II CHRONICLES 7:14
“While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off.” ACTS 13:3,2
Prayers of healing for the city in Jesus’ name. ACT S 4: 2 3 -3 1
“Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.” ACTS 14:23
Fasting begets proohets and strengthes strong men. Fasting makes lawgivers wise; it is the soul’s safeguard, the body’s trusted comrade, the armor of the champio, the training of the athlete.”Basil, Bishop of Caesarea AD 330-379
“Fasting… opens the way for the outpouring of the Spirit and the restoration of God’s house. Fasting in this age of the absent Bridegroom is in expectation of His return. Soon there will be the mid-night cry, ‘Behold, the bridedgroom! Come out to meet him.’ It will be too late then to fast and to pray. The time is nowGod’s Chosen Fast, Arthur Wallis
There are several ways that you could fast. If this is your first time fasting you will need to start with a minor or partial fast. If you are suffering from health issues that prohibit you from fasting then consider a soul fast below. An example of choosing a fast would be; Finding three friends to commit to doing a minor fast from sunup to sundown and then committing to breaking bread 3 times a week together.
Types of Fast*
A major fast is when you abstain from food or drink for twenty-four consecutive hours or more. A major fast requires a certain level of physical health, and it is recommended that you check with your doctor if you’re doing a major fast that lasts more than a few days in a row. Some examples from Scripture of a major fast can be found in Matthew 4:2, Acts 9:9, and Esther 4:15-16, just to name a few.
In a minor fast, you choose to abstain from food for a certain period of time (i.e., 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. or sunup to sundown). This fast is sometimes called a “Jewish fast,” and it can last for days at a time, eating only at a set time of the day. In a minor fast, most people will drink liquids during the day and have one small meal after sundown each evening.
A partial fast is when you give up only certain foods during the course of your fast. This fast is seen most clearly in Daniel 1, where Daniel abstains from certain foods out of devotion to God for a period of time. During a partial fast, some people choose to give up certain foods they enjoy in an effort to turn their hearts more deeply toward God.
Technically speaking, biblical fasting only refers to abstaining from food or drink (or both) for a spiritual purpose. However, some people choose to fast from things other than food. Some people will give up television, social media, or other activities for a soul fast to focus on prayer.
Each of these fasts can be a valuable way of connecting with God more deeply. If you are physically able, though, I would encourage you to prayerfully consider one of the first three fasts. There is something about giving up food that physically and spiritually realigns you in ways nothing else can.
*Adapted from Franklin Ministries and Dave Clayton
The Disciples Way of Living
To engage in the Leadership of Jesus we need to learn his primary teaching in the Sermon on the Mount and allow it to soak in us in transformational ways. The Sermon on the Mount or what could be called the Disciples Way of Living in Matthew 5-7 is Christ’s teaching that anchors us to all the teachings of God in deep ways. The passage takes 15 minutes to read or listen to and could be tailored in numerous ways to match your learning style and personality. Con sider reading all or a portion of the Sermon on the Mount every day during this journey to Engage in The Leadership of Jesus and the way of living He desired for all of his followers.
The following prayers are guides along the journey to draw you closer to the leadership of Jesus. Use a journal and reflect upon one of the following passages daily using these following questions as your guide.
• What are you thankful for today?
• What cares, concerns, or challenges do you need to surrender and submit to God today?
• How does this passage draw me to Jesus?
• What does this passage say about my response?
Prayers to Pray
Prayer of Leadership – Psalm 23
Prayer of His Glory – Psalm 24
Prayers of Repentance – Matthew 3:2, 4:17 Prayer of Battle – Ephesians 6:18-19
Disciples Prayer – Matthew 6:9-13
Prayer of Fasting and Worship – Ezra 8:21-23 Prayer of Confession – James 5:16
Prayer of Mercy – Luke 18:13
Prayer of Healing – Matthew 17:21
The Prayer for Ephesus – Ephesians 3:14-21 Prayer for Wisdom – Colossians 1:9-12
Prayer of Brokenness – Nehemiah 1:4–11
The Prayer of Unity – John 17
Prayer of Forgiveness – Acts 7:59,60
Prayer of the Soil – Matthew 13
Prayer of Rest – Matthew 11
Prayer of Purity in Fasting – Isaiah 58:1-11 Prayer of Courage – Joshua 1:9
Prayer of Power – Romans 8
Prayer of Surrendering – Luke 22:42
Prayers for Partners in Ministry – Phillipians 1:3-11 Prayer of Hope – Psalm 42
Prayer of Praise – Jude 1:24,25
Prayer of Grace – I Corinthians 1:4-8
Prayer of Loving – 1 Thess. 3:12-13
Prayer of Power – 2 Thes. 1:11-12
Prayer of Diligence – 1 Peter 1:5-11
Prayer of Expansion and Protection – I Chronicles 4:10 Prayer of Setting Apart – Acts 13:2
Prayer of Boldness – Acts 4:23-21
Call, Consecration, and Change
The call is to draw closer to God as we consecrate and set ourselves apart for an intentional season. In this season may you expect to be challenged and grow as you see the face of Jesus. The following are prompts.
1. Call/Clarity – What do you want?
- Freedom: You and Your Family
- The Church
- The City
2. Clarity – Asking God for specific clarity, breakthroughs, freedom, and revelations
- Who is involved? Group, friends, church?
- Doctors guidance?
- Daily schedule
- What type of fast? Major, minor partial soul
4. Consecrate – You are declaring that your life will never be the same and choosing to engage your soul in abundant living.
5. Confess – Throughout scripture we see that God calls for repentance to move in a new direction. Use this season for intentional confession.
6. Conflict – The enemy is seeking to destroy your life and this intimate time with Jesus. Prepare for spiritual warfare and choose to wage war with your soul as you put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6:18-19
7. Celebrating – Wait patiently for the Lord to fight your battles and expect the supernatural, renewal, restoration, and conquering of God. Decide how you will celebrate this season and how you will share with others what God did through Engaging the Leadership of Jesus.
Why am I choosing to join the 21 Day of Engaging the Leadership of Jesus through prayer and fasting?
Who is involved with me in my fast?
What fast am I choosing to do?
Do I need a medical doctor’s clearance?
What is your desire at the end of 21 days?
I am making a covenant between myself, friends, and Christ in order to draw closer to the presence and purpose of Jesus Christ in my life. I realize this is not easy, but I am willing to sacrifice and suffer for a greater purpose to see the face of God. I understand the goal is not to be perfect or see this as a burden, but to receive with open hands the blessing and providence of God over my life. Finally, I choose to do this fast not as diet but to engage the Divine.
Forward this to a friend to join you in this journey.
Join others in this Champion Hope journey to become a wholehearted leader. “Champions on the outside are built with hope on the inside.”