The Point: Giving, praying, and fasting are disciplines of personal worship.
- Get Into the Study
- Study the Bible
- Additional Questions
- Member Extra
- Tips for Leading Bible Study Groups
Get Into the Study
Use the following information to introduce Question #1.
Say: Sometimes there is a lot happening behind an activity or hobby that appears to be effortless?
Then share this news story:
Professional basketball player Steph Curry, who plays for the Golden State Warriors, won the NBC Most Valuable Player Award in 2014-15. Then Curry won the MVP award again in 2015-16, and became the first player in NBA history to win the MVP by a unanimous vote. In this spectacular season, Curry led his team to 73 wins, setting an NBA record, and scored 402 three-point field goals, setting another NBA record. While Curry makes shooting and winning look easy, there is a tremendous amount of discipline and work behind the flashy stats and awards. Curry practices by shooting about 2,000 shots a week. He shoots at least 250 shots each day. And on game days, he shoots 100 shots before every game.
Then read Question #1 (“When has an activity or hobby felt effortless for you?”)(PSG. p. 13) and call for volunteers to respond.
Information for this post was gleaned from here:
Study the Bible
Use the following illustration to supplement your group’s discussion of what it means to practice giving, prayer, and fasting as disciples of Christ.
If you Google the words “habit 2016,” you’ll find that the Internet is flooded with articles about how to change your behaviors. People are spending a lot of time thinking and writing about ways to increase their good habits and decrease their bad ones. For examples, you can find 9 Powerful Habits to Develop in 2016 on BusinessInsider.com, and 9 Toxic Habits to Get Rid of 2016 on on Lifehack.org.
The habits described in these articles can be good, and they can be helpful. But Jesus’ words in Matthew 6 reveal three habits that are more than good — they’re life-altering. Giving to the needy, praying, and fasting are necessary parts of what it means to live as a disciple of Christ.
— 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 @ashgemmert.
When you hear the word “worship,” what comes to mind?
What disciplines or experiences in your life have acted like sails, propelling you forward in your spiritual growth?
When you worship someone or something, what are you saying about them?
Why do you think Jesus issued a warning about rewards?
In what ways does your attitude toward giving reflect your attitude of worship?
How would you describe worship that is pleasing to God?
Who taught you to pray? Who are you teaching to pray?
When has praying felt like an act of worship to you?
What are some ways we sometimes show arrogance or pride in our prayers?
What prevents prayer from being an act of worship?
What words would you use to describe your prayer life?
How would you describe your experience with fasting?
In what part of your life are you most tempted to do things for the praise of people rather than the praise of God?
Besides food, what are some things you can give up as part of a fast?
How would you summarize Jesus’ teaching on prayer, giving, and worship in Matthew 6:1-8,16-18?
Share the following with your group members as either a devotional before the group study or as a follow-up devotional: