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In Significant Moments (Part 9: Praying in Faith) – Sermon Discussion Guide – 11-5-23

In Significant Moments (Part 9: Praying in Faith) – Sermon Discussion Guide – 11-5-23

Stu Quackenbush                                           Rockford Campus                                            November 5, 2023

 

In Significant Moments
Part 9: Pray in Faith

SMALL GROUP DISCUSSION GUIDE

 

REMINDERS

Leadership Development Class (Sunday Nights) Please join us on Sunday nights for the LDC! Our goal is that all our leaders would be connected into trainings at least 4 times a year to keep sharp and to help sharpen others. Tonight we continue our series on being a CATCH: five qualities of an ideal small group leader. For questions or suggestions on class topics, please reach out to Trent Heaton ([email protected]).

 

TOGETHER IN LIFE

November is here and October gave us some snow before it bid us farewell! In your opinion, how soon is too soon for snow? For Christmas music? For Christmas decorations? For Christmas gift shopping?

 

TOGETHER IN THE WORD

THIS WEEK’S KEY PASSAGE: James 5:13–20

Note: We encourage you to read the entire text together as a group out loud.

 

Big Idea

Following Jesus means living a life of prayer. One of the greatest enemies of prayer is a lack of faith. When we don’t pray, it’s often because we don’t really believe that God will answer. We need to recognize that God is faithful to answer, even though He does not always give us what we want. We need to persist in prayer because of who God is and trust Him to always do what is right whether we understand it or not.

 

Self-Assessment

Today’s sermon opened with a few big questions. Let’s dive into them together as a group.

QUESTIONS

  • How is your prayer life?
    • Does thinking about it make you feel guilty? Or joyful? Something else?
    • Does the question seem too personal?
  • Do you ever feel discouraged about unanswered prayer?
  • Do you ever struggle with cynicism? Are you tempted to question, doubt, poke holes, and generally view prayer negatively?

 

Prayer Like Breathing

Martin Luther said it well: “to be a Christian without prayer is no more possible than to be alive without breathing.” James says to pray whether in suffering or in cheerful times. Paul says to pray on all occasions (see Ephesians 6:18; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:17; 1 Timothy 2:1, 8).

Stu has some advice for those who need help getting started:

  1. Start small
  2. Aim for frequency
  3. Start with what you already know God wants for you
  4. Don’t just ask for things; seek God’s face and offer praise

QUESTIONS

  • How does the idea of prayer like breathing strike you? Does it feel like a burden? An opportunity?
  • Do your prayer habits need some help? If so, does Stu’s list sound doable?
  • If you find it easy to pray, are there specific things that have helped you along the way? (Remember: what works for you may not necessarily work for everyone!)

 

God at Work

It’s one thing to pray often; it’s another to get your hopes up, to expect God to do something because you prayed. We know God does not always give us the answer we want, but we can’t use that as an excuse. God does answer prayer. Even though God is sovereign, He delights to include His children in His work, and one of the ways He does this is by including our prayers as part of the way He works. Prayer can and does make a difference.

QUESTIONS

  • Do you pray with expectation?
  • Have you seen God answer prayers in the past?
  • Are you ever tempted to give humans the credit and not God (like with Stu’s story about finding his daughter)?
  • Are you ever tempted to give up on prayer?
  • Are you ever tempted to ask only for little things, to protect yourself from discouragement?

TOGETHER IN PRAYER

Before you transition to a time of prayer, remember how Jesus fits into today’s message.

Remember that He experienced a “no” from God when He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, and all the good that God brought from that.

Remember that it is ultimately the strength of the object of our faith that matters most—and our faith is in the God who made all things, raises the dead back to life, and makes all things new.

Remember that because we have the Son, we get everything along with Him (see Ephesians 1).

And remember that Jesus is praying for you right now.

Application: pray! Pray for one another. Confess your sins to one another and remind one another of the grace and forgiveness of God. Don’t let sin frustrate your prayers. Pray for any of the concerns that came up in today’s sermon and discussion.

This week, in addition to your normal prayer requests, pray for one another that you may all persist in prayer despite any discouragement or temptations that arise.