EXTRA! Ideas for Bible Studies for Life
September 27, 2015
Stand Strong: Building Your Life on God’s Promises
SESSION 4: God’s Promise of Answered Prayer
The Point: God always answers persistent prayer.
Video Examples: Persistence
For users of the Bible Studies for Life: Adult resource, the Leader Guide for this session includes an optional activity that encourages leaders to show sales videos to their groups that promote the value of persistence. Here are some examples of videos that would work well in a group setting:
- Motivational Minute: The Value of Persistence
- Sales Persistence (This one is pretty long, but you get some interesting statistics at about the halfway point; it may be best to start there.)
- Persistence Is Key
As an additional thought for this activity, it would be interesting to ask group members how communicating with clients (based on these sales videos) is different from being persistent in our communication with God.
Leader Extra: Get Into the Study
According to a recent article in The Atlantic, over 60 million people are currently displaced because of violence in their homelands. According to the United Nations, this is the highest number of refugees fleeing since World War II. Refugees are desperately trying to flee their homelands for safer ground.
But turn on the news and you’ll see that often, these refugees are losing their lives simply trying to get themselves and their families to a safer place. When we read statistics and reports about entire families dying while journeying to safety, it’s hard to pray. As a matter of fact, it almost feels like we don’t know what to pray for. The magnitude of suffering feels so great that prayer may seem like the least reasonable thing to do to make it stop.
But prayer is exactly what God asks us to do—especially in times of hopelessness. In both the big and the small things, we are instructed and encouraged to bring our requests to God as often as we can. We must pray to remember that God grieves with us in times of sadness, and he walks with us each step of the way. And most importantly, God promises that our persistent prayers will be answered.
- Why do you think it is often a struggle to pray persistently—specifically when we’re praying about things that feel completely out of our control?
- What do you pray for most regularly?
- Can you think of a time when you saw very clearly how God responded to your persistent prayer?
- How would you describe the important connection, as Christians, between persistent prayer and having hope in God’s goodness, even in the midst of constant tragedy on earth?
— Ashley Emmert wrote this Leader Extra. She is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the suburbs of Chicago with her sweet Southern husband and their small scrappy dogs. Find her at ashleygraceemmert.com or on Twitter at @ashgemmert.
Leader Extra: Live It Out
Use the following information to help illustrate persistence and encourage group members toward greater persistence in prayer.
For “Wrap It Up,” share this news item (note: the links below also contain a short video clip of the finish of the race, if you have a laptop – you can show this clip while you share the news story):
At the track world championships held in Beijing in late August, the women’s 10K race drew quite a bit of attention – not so much for the winner, but for the woman who finished third. American Molly Huddle was favored to win the bronze medal and she was in position to take third coming down the home stretch. But just before she crossed the finish line, Huddle slowed her pace just slightly and raised her hands in the air to celebrate. As Huddle let up on her pace, her teammate Emily Infeld lunged across the finish line to grab third place and the bronze medal, just 0.09 seconds ahead of Huddle. Huddle finished fourth with no medal and a great deal of embarrassment. Huddle was not aware that Infeld was running just behind her.
Infeld, the bronze medal winner, said, “I didn’t think I had a chance to medal and it just kind of happened, and the only thing that I feel bad about is that I think Molly [Huddle] let up and I don’t think she knew I was there.”
Say: “In the battle for third place in this race, it was not necessarily the fastest runner who won – it was the person who did not slow her pace before the end of the race. Persistence was rewarded here with a bronze medal.”
Then continue with “Wrap It Up” in the leader guide.
Information for this post was gleaned from:
Donna McKinney has recently retired from a career with the federal government of the United States. She is a veteran Bible study group leader living in Apex, North Carolina.
Who would you call for help in the middle of the night?
Who has been the most influential in teaching you to pray?
Did you have a specific prayer you prayed as a child? What was it?
How do you usually pray? Do you have a set time, location, etc.?
When have you seen God’s timing prove better than your timing?
What kinds of results do you expect when you pray?
What kind of attitude is implied in verses 9-10?
What does the parable told in verses 5-8 teach us about prayer?
What obstacles prevent us from praying more persistently?
How do we persist faithfully in prayer without becoming demanding and pouty with God?
Prayer involves praise, confession, and petition. In which of these areas would you like to grow?
What proof do we have that we can trust God to give us all good things?
What is the reward of perseverance in our prayer lives?
What emotions do you experience when you read verse 13? Explain.
When has God answered a persistent prayer in your life? What did you gain from that experience?
Group Member Extra
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: