Small Group Questions

Discussion Questions

Moving Beyond Motions - Week 3

How to use the Sermon Discussion Questions:

  1. Scripture is provided as a convenience to you and for those who may not have a bible.
  2. Excerpts are provided from Tom’s sermon to help the group remember the important parts of his message. Feel free to read these together as a group, or you may simply want to use them as a reminder to put in your own words. Don’t feel the need to read everything in this document as a group. Use what you need, skip what you don’t.


Scripture Passages:

Exodus 17:8-13 (NRSV) But Moses’ hands grew weary; so they took a stone and put it under him, and he sat on it. Aaron and Hur held up his hands, one on one side, and the other on the other side; so his hands were steady until the sun set. And Joshua defeated Amalek and his people with the sword.


Luke 18:1 (NIV84) Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.


Colossians 4:12 (NIV84) Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand fir, in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 


Romans 8:34 (NIV84) …Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.


Hebrews 7:25 (NIV84) Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.


Isaiah 59:1-2 (NIV84) Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face form you, so that he will not hear.


Isaiah 59:15-16 (NIV84) …The Lord looked and was displeased that there was no justice. He saw that there was no one, he was appalled that there was no one to intervene; so his own arm worked salva-tion for him, and his own righteousness sustained him.


Jeremiah 5:1 (NIV84) “Go up and down the streets of Jerusalem, look around and consider, search through her squares. If you can find but one person who deals honestly and seeks the truth, I will for-give this city.


Ezekiel 22:30 (NIV84) “I looked for a man among them who would build up the wall and stand before me in the gap on behalf of the land so I would not have to destroy it, but I found none.”


Galatians 4:19 (NIV84) My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,


Romans 8:26 (NIV84) In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.


Warm Up:

Throughout his message, Pastor Tom tells of many stories of intercession throughout scripture. Discuss a few times in your own life when you can remember praying for someone else and experiencing prayer that was answered. What are some of your first experiences of praying for someone else? 


Discussion:

1. Read Exodus 17:8-13.

What stands out most to you in this passage? Why? Who would you most relate to?


2. Excerpt from Pastor Tom’s sermon:

Some of you are faith people. You pray out of faith. You don’t ask why. It doesn’t have to make sense. You are not tormented souls, you are blissfully trusting. Other people want to understand. We only want to use faith if we absolutely have to. Our favorite question is to ask why and we desperately need belief systems to make sense and if they don’t, we are tormented.

Which one of these types of people are you? What could you learn from the people in your life who are naturally the opposite?


3. In his sermon, Pastor Tom makes the point that intercessory prayer is not telling God something he does not know rather, it is expressing a willingness to bear the burden for those we love.

What do you think it means to “bear a burden” for someone else in prayer? Are there people in your life who have been willing to bear your burdens?


4. Read Isaiah 59:1-2, 15-16.

What do these verses have to say about God? What do these verses say about humanity?


5. Excerpt from Pastor Tom’s sermon:

The intercessor God is looking for us one in whom the needs of a lost world and a holy God could meet. Intercession is not an external act but an inner condition of the heart where the lost world could meet the salvation of God. When God could not find a person to stand in the gap, He became one.

What are some of your reactions to this statement? How is intercession an inner condition of the heart?


6. In the end of his message, Pastor Tom describes the Holy Spirit as straightening out and cleansing our misguiding intercessions and making them acceptable to God.

How have you experienced this in your own prayer life? Have there been times where the Spirit has interceded when you felt you didn’t know how to pray for someone?


7. Quote from Sidlow Baxter:

… [People] may spurn our appeals, reject our message, oppose our arguments, despise our persons — but they are helpless against our prayers.”

How might this quote be encouraging to you? What are some situations or people you’re praying for right now?


Next Steps:

Pastor Tom quotes Richard Foster:

If we truly love people, we will desire for them far more than it is within our power to give them, and this will lead us to prayer. Intercession is a way of loving others.

What might it look like to love others through intercession? How might this be different than other ways of praying?


Meditate on Romans 8:26 this week. Let it be an empowering encouragement as we intercede of behalf of the people in our lives.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express.”