To learn a little about why prayer helps us notice and appreciate God’s presence, play a game. Start with one group member and have that member intentionally notice any other group member they’d like. They need to say the other member’s name aloud and comment on one thing they notice about that person (can be what they’re wearing, how they’re sitting, if they seem excited or tired, a comment on one of their talents or attributes, etc.).
Example: I see you, James White. I like your blue hoodie. OR I see you Jill Black. You’re always on time to group. I appreciate that about you.
Go around the circle noticing one another. Do you see more than you did before the exercise?
Do you have a strong prayer habit? If so, how did you develop that habit? How do you keep it up? If not, what’s getting in the way of you praying more?
Do you feel like God is close when you pray? Why might He sometimes feel far away? Is there anything you need to change about the way you’re praying to better/more consistently encounter God? (For example, if we only ask God for things we might be hyper aware of prayers he hasn’t answered. More gratitude would remind us the prayers he’s already answered.)
Do you ever feel like God speaks to you through you in prayer? Do you ever find yourself praying for things you didn’t intend to pray for? What could we do to open ourselves up to listening to God more in prayer?
Of the four prayers Justin mentioned on Sunday, which kind are you most comfortable with? Which kind are you most uncomfortable with? Why?
Give an example of a time prayer awakened you to God’s presence.
Try any of the four types of prayer we mentioned on Sunday:
HEY // Acknowledge God’s presence by noticing what He’s up to in your life. Where did you see God today?
STAY // Perhaps your group would benefit from spending all of your small group meeting time tonight in prayer. You might pray through one of the prayer guides from our time of prayer and fasting. You might make lists of ways your group’s families need help/guidance/rescue/blessing.
FLIP // Consider praying Ephesians 6:10-18. Read it first; then ask God to help you do what He’s calling you to do in the text.
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.”
FLEX // Encourage your group members to pray with their hands palms-up tonight. Or, if you’re praying a prayer of confession, have the group get on their knees. You might offer a prayer of praise with hands outstretched.
This week’s story finds Mary living an ordinary life when suddenly an angel appears and changes everything. Read Luke 1:26-56.
How does Mary react to discovering the enchanted world? What can we learn about how we should respond?
What does Mary’s discovery of the enchanted world change about her life after this moment?
How does Mary respond to the Spirit’s message through her cousin Elizabeth? What kind of prayer is her song (hey, stay, flip or flex)?