Welcome to our All Access series. This series is designed to take some of the "magic" and mystery out of prayer and show how God is accessible through prayer anytime, anywhere, to anybody! Recognize this and engaging God in prayer that really works might mean rethinking prayer, but it also might be the most transformative and impacting thing you ever do!
Every week there will be Scriptures, thoughts, questions and videos to help you facilitate a discussion with your group. Everything on here is a tool for your use; but don't feel like you have to stick to the script! The goal is for meaningful conversation and growth to happen organically as you and your group gather.
Also, don't sacrifice relationship building for the sake of "diving deep" into your faith - true relationship building will greatly increase the quality of your gatherings and your group's ability to grow in their faith!
Send me your feedback as the series develops; it's my goal to help us all find and follow Christ through all that we do.
- Tim Beehler
Q: In the movie, Aladdin, the Genie is bound to grant three wishes to whoever finds the lamp and awakens him:
If you were the one who found the lamp, what three things would wish for?
See the full message HERE
“When you pray, don’t be like the hypocrites who love to pray publicly on street corners and in the synagogues where everyone can see them. I tell you the truth, that is all the reward they will ever get. But when you pray, go away by yourself, shut the door behind you, and pray to your Father in private. Then your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.
“When you pray, don’t babble on and on as the Gentiles do. They think their prayers are answered merely by repeating their words again and again. Don’t be like them, for your Father knows exactly what you need even before you ask him!
What have you been told about the purpose of prayer?
Have you ever thought that you were praying wrong?
How could you approach prayer as a conversation founded on relationship?
Then Jesus went with them to the olive grove called Gethsemane, and he said, “Sit here while I go over there to pray.” He took Peter and Zebedee’s two sons, James and John, and he became anguished and distressed. He told them, “My soul is crushed with grief to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” He went on a little farther and bowed with his face to the ground, praying, “My Father! If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me. Yet I want your will to be done, not mine.”
What does Jesus’ prayer, here, reveal about the purpose of prayer?
What does it take to pour out your heart to God, and walk away saying “nevertheless”?
Have you ever prayed for something, gotten it, and then regretted it?
Commit as a group to being open and gracious with one another as you journey together through series, and pray that together you will become more aware of God’s presence and purpose
Q: What’s the best gift you’ve ever recieved?
Q: What does God look like to you?
See the full message HERE
“You parents—if your children ask for a loaf of bread, do you give them a stone instead? Or if they ask for a fish, do you give them a snake? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give good gifts to those who ask him.”
What does this passage say about the character of God?
“I am Joseph!” he said to his brothers. “Is my father still alive?” But his brothers were speechless! They were stunned to realize that Joseph was standing there in front of them. “Please, come closer,” he said to them. So they came closer. And he said again, “I am Joseph, your brother, whom you sold into slavery in Egypt. But don’t be upset, and don’t be angry with yourselves for selling me to this place. It was God who sent me here ahead of you to preserve your lives. This famine that has ravaged the land for two years will last five more years, and there will be neither plowing nor harvesting. God has sent me ahead of you to keep you and your families alive and to preserve many survivors. So it was God who sent me here, not you! And he is the one who made me an adviser to Pharaoh—the manager of his entire palace and the governor of all Egypt.”
“Don’t be afraid of me. Am I God, that I can punish you? You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.”
“And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.”
How do these passages effect the way you think about your prayer requests?
Have you ever felt like you were “living in the gap” between something that happened to you and any good that could come from it?
Have you been on the other side, where you can look back at a bad situation and see where God has brought good things from it?
Pray together for strength and wisdom in navigating the circumstances of your life in light of the good God is weaving together for you
Q: What’s your “go to” for connecting with God?
prayer; music; bible; devotional; walking; etc…
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
What does this verse mean for our lives?
PC said, “prayer is an alternative to worry and judgment”:
what are your thoughts on this?
What is the difference between transactional prayer and transformational prayer?
Have you ever heard, it is easier to ask for forgiveness then to ask for permission?
Why is that?
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
How do you deal with stressful situations?
Are you a “taker” or a “truster”?
Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him. On reaching the place, he said to them, “Pray that you will not fall into temptation.” He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” An angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him. And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow. “Why are you sleeping?” he asked them. “Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.”
How can prayer lead to surrender/trust?
Together, think of some ways you can pray throughout out your day
Q: Have you ever looked at one of these pictures?
Can you see what’s going here?
if you can’t, do you believe what others say is going on?
“Now our knowledge is partial and incomplete, and even the gift of prophecy reveals only part of the whole picture! But when the time of perfection comes, these partial things will become useless. When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I put away childish things. Now we see things imperfectly, like puzzling reflections in a mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely.”
What does this verse mean for our lives?
Can you think of a situation where you were short-sighted, but someone else was able to help you see/know more?
PC said, “we’re addicted to knowing, but faith is trusting God about what you don’t know”
What’s something you need to some help trusting God about?
“Sir,” the woman said, “you must be a prophet. So tell me, why is it that you Jews insist that Jerusalem is the only place of worship, while we Samaritans claim it is here at Mount Gerizim, where our ancestors worshiped?” Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. You Samaritans know very little about the one you worship, while we Jews know all about him, for salvation comes through the Jews. But the time is coming—indeed it’s here now—when true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth. The Father is looking for those who will worship him that way. For God is Spirit, so those who worship him must worship in spirit and in truth.” The woman said, “I know the Messiah is coming—the one who is called Christ. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” Then Jesus told her, “I am the Messiah!”
Have you ever purchased one of those supposedly life-changing “as seen on TV” products?
What was it? (be honest)
Did it live up to the hype?
What if God is simply beyond our grasp?
How can we handle/accept that potential when it comes to our daily lives?
As a group, commit this holiday season to being the answer to someone else’s prayer. Who can you help? Who can you serve? Who can you comfort? Who can you encourage? What can you do, as a group, to be the answer?
Q: Have you ever been totally unplugged for an entire day (social media, cell phone, computer, TV, radio, whatever)?
What was that experience like for you?
“The Lord said to Elijah, ‘Go, stand in front of me on the mountain, and I will pass by you.’ Then a very strong wind blew until it caused the mountains to fall apart and large rocks to break in front of the Lord . But the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind, there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake, there was a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. After the fire, there was a quiet, gentle sound. When Elijah heard it, he covered his face with his coat and went out and stood at the entrance to the cave.”
How do you expect God to speak?
What are some characteristics/ways you would look for?
PC said, “it starts with stillness.”
When was the last time you were truly still and present?
Someone once said, “we, in the West, cannot stand silence, because in silence we are forced to deal with ourselves.”
Have you ever made things like busy-ness, surround sound, or work an escape from your regular life?
What is your favorite time saving device?
Then the Spirit led Jesus into the desert to be tempted by the devil. Jesus fasted for forty days and nights. After this, he was very hungry. The devil came to Jesus to tempt him, saying, “If you are the Son of God, tell these rocks to become bread.” Jesus answered, “It is written in the Scriptures, ‘A person lives not on bread alone, but by everything God says.’” Then the devil led Jesus to the holy city of Jerusalem and put him on a high place of the Temple. The devil said, “If you are the Son of God, jump down, because it is written in the Scriptures:
‘He has put his angels in charge of you.
They will catch you in their hands
so that you will not hit your foot on a rock.’” Psalm 91:11–12
Jesus answered him, “It also says in the Scriptures, ‘Do not test the Lord your God.’” Then the devil led Jesus to the top of a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and all their splendor. The devil said, “If you will bow down and worship me, I will give you all these things.” Jesus said to the devil, “Go away from me, Satan! It is written in the Scriptures, ‘You must worship the Lord your God and serve only him.’”
Have you ever been tempted to go for the quick fix when you knew there was a better or safer or more legitimate alternative?
What was the outcome?
What are your thoughts on suffering, as it pertains to being a Christian (someone who is trying to be Christ-like)?
What happens when we’re always trying to avoid pain?
What happens when we spend all of our time trying to fix the people around us instead of working on ourselves?
Could this be the most impacting way to “love God, and love others”?
Spend a couple minutes of quiet together as a group. Don’t make it awkward, just give everyone a chance to breathe and turn off their minds. Challenge each other to set aside just a couple of minutes a day to simply be quiet.
This is the final week of the All Access series. I hope you’ve enjoyed it and it has been helpful for your group as you all grow together. I welcome your feedback on the series itself, and whether or not your group will continue to meet going forward. I can help you find material, if needed, or consult with you on serving opportunities.
Q: What are some things you are thankful for?
Q: Now, what are the small things you have been blessed with that you maybe take for granted?
“Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.”
PC said, “we’re challenged to be thankful in all situations; not for all situations, but in them.”
What’s the difference here?
Think about the question PC asked: “what does it take for you to be grateful/thankful?
what level does something have to get to in order to elicit a “thanks”?
Viktor Frankel said, about his experience in a Nazi concentration camp: “Loosing everything enabled us to be thankful for the tiniest things.”
Does abundance, in some ways, lure us in to ingratitude?
How can we get away from that?
“You must not covet your neighbor’s wife. You must not covet your neighbor’s house or land, male or female servant, ox or donkey, or anything else that belongs to your neighbor.”
What does PC mean when he says that being grateful is the pinnacle of life?
Have you ever been, or are you currently, dissatisfied with the things you have?
In what ways can you accept your situation?
In what ways can you/should you change you situation?
In what ways can you change yourself through this situation?
What happens when we compare ourselves to others?
Talk as a group about how you can all aspire to lives of gratitude.
Also, talk as a group about whether or not you will continue you meeting in the new year.