Welcome to another night of Community Groups! Please lean into this guide as much as you need to; use this as a tool to help facilitate fruitful conversation, but please do not let this become a script if you do not need it to be. You know your group better than I do! The goal for this evening is to explore the lostness of the older brother, and to wrestle with he ways in which he is more lost than his more famous, wayward sibling. If you can arrive at that destination with your group more efficiently with different questions, please feel free to simply use these as inspiration!
Do you remember your first prayer? What was it?
Read John 14:14
- Have you ever heard of the idea of, “Name it and claim it”? How might passages like this one contribute to that idea?
- Zoom out a little and read verses 12-15. Why do you think Jesus says that whoever believes in him will do greater works than him (v.12), and whoever loves him will keep his commandments (v.15)?
- During Jesus’n last meal with his disciples, He told them 5 times that he would do whatever they ask in his name. Knowing that he was going to his death, why might Jesus have thought this was worth saying five times?
- What do you think it means to ask for something “In Jesus name”?
Read Isaiah 1:13-17
Consider this quote from Philip Yancey
“Thus God flatly declares that, in addition to our private spiritual state, our social concern (or lack thereof)–for the poor, for orphans and widows–also has a direct bearing on how our prayers are received. Other prophets, such as Malachi, get even more specific. Those who pay exploitative wages, who break marriage vows, who treat illegal immigrants badly, who refuse to share food with the hungry or provide shelter to the homeless, risk closing God’s ears to their prayers.”
1. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
2. Do you think that our actions have a bearing on whether or not our prayers get answered? Explain?
3. How might our belief in Jesus and our love for him influence our prayer life?
4. How might we better understand prayers that do and do not get answered in light of this passage?