Catch up on how things have been since the last time your Impact Group met. Allow anyone new to introduce themselves. Then ask group members:
Ask for a volunteer to read Luke 11:5-8 to the group, praying a short prayer that – however much they’ve come to know Jesus, they’d know him better as a result of your time together.
In Jesus’ day, the care and hospitality of others was a considerable measure of character – of individuals and even whole villages. It was expected that, from time to time, people would be called upon to offer hospitality to guests who arrived unexpectedly.
In the parable, Jesus’ neighbour gives his friend the bread he needs because of the “shameless audacity” (verse 8) of the request. In other words, any disruption caused by helping is trumped by the urgency of the need – and shown by the very timing of the request! Jesus’ point is that we can approach God boldly, asking for what we really need.
Jesus will go on to teach that, just as an earthly neighbour would not ignore their friend (verses 9-10), and an earthly father would not tease their child by giving them a stone or a snake when they ask for food (verses 11-13)… then how much more will our good God and Father give us what we need!
Jesus is encouraging his disciples to pray confidently to God, knowing that he delights to give us good things. We can approach him confidently for our daily bread, and for spiritual life, knowing he will give us what we need.
Some members of your Impact Group may have known the pain of apparently unanswered prayer. There will be no easy answers to their questions – though there are certain answers we can rule out. Jesus teaches that God is neither deaf to our requests (verses 9-10) nor inclined to trick us (verses 11-13). Though it is very often hard to see exactly how, our unanswered prayers may be God’s wise gift to us, protecting from unintended consequences. May we have the humility to trust him, even in our heartbreak.
The Prayer Course has a very helpful interview with the founder of 24/7 Prayer, Pete Greig, on his own experiences of unanswered prayer (24 minutes).
One way of understanding praying “shamelessly” is praying big prayers we long to see answered. Not holding back and asking God for what may seem impossible.
On a large sheet of paper create a mind map of all the big things you can pray for in these three areas:
Spend some time praying these prayers together. Encourage people this is a safe environment to pray out loud. You may want to keep a note of these prayers and look back to celebrate how God has been at work.
One way we can bless our friends is by offering to pray for them. A recent survey revealed that young people are turning to prayer in an increasingly uncertain world.
“one third of 18-34 year olds have prayed in the last month” — The Telegraph, Aug 2022
Challenge your group to look out for opportunities this week. Pray the Lord would give you eyes to see opportunities to pray for others as you go about your week.
Thank You – Thank everyone for coming, and ask someone to thank God for your time together in prayer.
Ask – Ask those who are new to reading the Bible if they’d like to explore Uncover, a set of sessions in Mark’s Gospel, allowing them to investigate one of the earliest accounts of Jesus’ life alongside one of you.
Church and CU – What does the CU have planned ahead? And what help would group members value in finding a local church?
Others – Who else could you invite to join your CU Impact Group next week? These friends don’t need to be followers of Jesus and may really appreciate being invited.
See You Soon – Tell the group where and when you’ll meet next week, and arrange who will bring snacks. (You might like to alternate healthy and less healthy weeks!). See if anyone would be up for sharing a meal or just hanging out in the meantime!
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