Dangerous Prayers Part 3 (Leader’s Guide)

Hi Small Group Leaders, 

One of my most favorite days of the year is a Mother’s Day Picnic, my husband and I host for the single moms in our community. As we are in the 7th year of hosting, we pull out all the stops with a beautiful food spread, a professional photographer taking portraits, and lovely parting gifts. I love seeing the kids growing year after year. But more importantly, I love showing these beautiful moms; they are indeed a whole and complete family.

I would have never thought of celebrating single mothers this special way until I became a single mom myself 16 years ago. God used my pain for His glory and gave me the heart and opportunity to serve single moms. God rebuilt my world!

This week, we are asking you to help your group to look into what breaks their heart that God is using to Rebuild our World!

Thank you for serving so faithfully,

Vicky Chan

Groups Coordinator

Pro Tip – Create a Safe Space for Sharing & Prayer Using These Ground Rules:

(As the leader, read the ground rules below with your group out loud and even put them in your zoom or google meet chat so that everyone can see them. Ask for agreement from all the group members before you start the conversation. As the group leader, you will have to enforce these guidelines gently. Remember that grace wins, and we want your group to be a safe place where people can share freely even if they don’t agree with one another at the end. Unity does not have to be uniformity.  We recommend that you read these together and then PRAY before you begin!  We all need more of the Spirit’s wisdom!)

  • Recognize that all of us come from different backgrounds and perspectives.  As a result, we all have good intentions, but also blind spots. Just as Jesus does with us every day, we have to respect where people are and remember that we all are doing the best, we can give our current state of awareness.  GRACE WINS!
  • Speak only for yourself (“I feel…” “I think…”), not on behalf of your identity (“we feel…” “we are…”) or other identities (“they think…” “they act like…”).
  • Listen to hear and understand, and not so that you can respond. Take the time to process what you’ve heard, before responding.
  • Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to help you avoid negative judgments, language, and name-calling.
  • Be open to feeling uncomfortable – all growth comes with some discomfort.
  • Understand that groups of a single race can have multiple perspectives and even the most diverse groups will not all have the same perspectives.
  • Stay engaged. It is often difficult once we feel frustrated or misunderstood, to withdraw and drop out of the conversation, but resist this urge.  It will be worth it.
  • Please don’t dominate the conversation, remember that everyone deserves a chance to speak and be heard.
  • Don’t expect a resolution, complete agreement, or definite answers. This is a discussion, not a debate.

ICEBREAKER

Have you ever experienced a heartbreak? If you are able to, share it with the group.           

APPLY THE BIBLE

We’ll be wrapping up our series DANGEROUS PRAYERS with the message “Break my Heart.” In today’s discussion, we’ll be taking a look at the book of Nehemiah to see how this simple prayer led to a miracle. In the same way, if you accept God’s invitation to pray this dangerous prayer, it will lead you to be a part of God doing the miraculous in our lives.

[1]     Why do we intentionally avoid asking for pain in our prayer? How could personal pain be looked upon in a positive way? Praying Dangerous Prayers may lead us to experience pain in our lives. Most people don’t usually want to experience pain; in fact, we go out of our way to avoid it. However, there are times that we do intentionally look at pain in a positive way. Let your group share examples. Some things that your group may share are exercising, getting surgery, or a procedure is done that is painful, risking, and experiencing bodily harm to protect someone else. This question is to set up the ultimate question, are we ready for God to break our hearts?

Read Nehemiah 1: 1-4; Nehemiah 2:1-5. Nehemiah was an exile from Jerusalem. He lived in Persia (modern-day Iran) and worked a risky job as the king’s food tester. He made sure that nothing the king ate or drank was poisoned, which he did through tasting the king’s food personally. One of his friends returned from his hometown only to discover that it was destroyed.

[2]     How would you have felt if one of your favorite places in -in the world was destroyed? What emotions would you be feeling? Help your group imagine what it was like to be Nehemiah. We all have places in our lives that are precious to us. It could be our childhood homes, vacation spots, or state and national parks that make us feel safe and secure. Share what one of those places is for you. And share how you would feel if you found out tomorrow that it was gone or destroyed.

Pastor Kayra taught us that “God’s greatest blessing comes from God’s greatest breaking.” 

[3]     What does Pastor Kayra’s statement mean to you? The places where we experience God breaking us could be where we experience God blessing us. That blessing could be spiritual, emotional, or even material. But frequently, that blessing that comes our way will be something that will be used to bless those around us (Genesis 12:1-3). Help your group to wrestle with the connection between breaking and blessing. This may challenge them to redefine how they understand the blessings of God.

Pastor Kayra shared that God breaks your heart so you can rebuild your world. We may associate breaking with destructive. However, there is another way of understanding being broken. Pastor Charles Stanley defines brokenness as “Brokenness is what God uses to replace our self-life with his desires and intents for us.” He uses the example of a horse being broken. When a horse is unbroken, it has so much strength that is out of control, but after a horse is broken and is able to have a rider, all that strength can be focused on the rider. If God is the rider, we are the horse in need of being broken so that we can rebuild the world He’s placed us in.

[4]     Why do you think God has to break us before He can use us? Often, we are prideful and self-sufficient. When God breaks us, we become more reliant on God’s strength and God’s leading. God has bigger plans for us than we can even begin to imagine. Follow up this question by asking your group if they would be willing to share a time that God had to break them before they were used by God. If they aren’t able to share, led by example and share with your group how God had to break you before He used you.

[5]     Currently, what are some things that break your heart? Family relationships, illness, issues facing our nation? For Nehemiah, something made him so angry and grieved that it moved him to action. Ask your group if they have ever had something break their heart that compelled them to do something about it. They didn’t simply stay satisfied with the status quo.

Pro-Tip- Another way to ask this question is what is it that makes you angry. Sometimes Righteous Anger moves us to action.

Pastor Kayra taught us that it is better to HURT with a PURPOSE than to exist without one.   

[6]     How can identifying our pain or anger also be the key to unlocking our purpose? How do our experiences transform a Holy Pain and Holy Burden for God’s glory? Identifying the things that cause us pain or anger could be the very thing that God is using to transform our lives and the lives of those around us. Nehemiah’s pain is what led to the completion of the wall around Jerusalem. Ask your group where they’ve experienced pain or anger that left them with the desire to do something about it.

BEAR BURDENS

Go around your group and ask people to share their burdens. Have your group members share their prayer requests in the chat. Have the group leader assign prayer requests, and take turns praying over your assigned prayer request. 

Assign one person to each prayer and ask them to follow up during the week.  Encourage them to use the ideas you just discussed together and try them out this week. Try to remember to follow up next week to see how it went!

CHANCE TO SERVE

You can spread Hope Faster than Covid19! Check out our website to find ways you can help:  https://www.liquidchurch.com/relief. Encourage your group to sign up for ways that they can serve those in your community that has been hit hardest by the Coronavirus.  We know so many of you have already been hard at work and doing great things in your community. Thank you! You are what makes our Church so special.  Go to the website and share some of the ways you have been helping with this hashtag: #SERVESMALLNJ

Look for specific needs in your community and campus that you can meet. 

DEEPER WALK:

 Group Leaders: Send these options out after your group has met to continue to grow in their faith. 

 Select at least one activity below to complete during the next week. 

 Personal Action:           With your group, share what it is that breaks your heart and find one practical next step to do next.

 Mentoring:          See if there are those that you know that are experiencing brokenness for the same thing as you and ask for help.  

Conversation:      Make time to connect with a friend to talk about what it is that is breaking your heart. Let them help you make a plan on what to do next.  

Memorization:     Psalm 18: 34:

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted

And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Pray:             Lord, break my heart for what breaks yours.

 Study:        What in your world is broken? How does God want you to rebuild it? This is a way for your group to start taking this message and make it practical for them. Another way to see what God is breaking their hearts is to identify any broken places in their world. Many can identify areas in their lives that are broken and in need of being fixed and reworked. Some in your group may be moved by God’s Spirit to take steps to rebuild the world around them.