Small Group Questions

Raise The Sails: Raise the Sails with Extraordinary Prayer

Introduction:

Nothing’s more important in your life than learning how to pray effectively. It’s the way you tap into God’s power, God’s presence, God’s peace, God’s purpose, and God’s plan. Prayer movements precede God’s movements on the earth. Prayer is the lifeblood of all of His movements. In order to see God move, there is one constant theme – much prayer. If we desire to see the wind of the Holy Spirit empower us to do His work we must commit ourselves to ever-increasing, persistent and extraordinary prayer.  

Something To Talk About: 

Extraordinary prayer means you experience an authentic connection with God. Could your prayer life use a boost? Are you worried you don’t know the “right” way to pray? Have your prayer times grown stale or boring? Do you long for some fresh inspiration to energize your times with the Lord? Consider the following: 

  1. God loves me to talk with Him: Prayer is simply talking to God. Praying creates a line of communication with our Creator. Praying consistently builds a personal relationship with God that allows Him to see our true inner self—our heart. God wants to know what is important to us and what we care deeply about. He wants us to open our hearts to Him. Can you pray to God about anything? Yes. In fact, He wants to hear from you. He listens. He sees. You simply need to talk to Him. Praying / talking to God is the conversation with your best Friend. We can and should talk to Him about everything. We can and should bring everything in conversation to Him and be thankful that He leads and helps us. Some people believe we should talk to God a certain number of times a day. There is no number. We talk to God all the time when we have needs, fears, worries, questions. And we have plenty of reason and need to talk to God. 
  2. God listens to prayers that are sincere and simple: Many people are more confused or failing in prayer than in any other area in the Christian life. Talking to the God who chose us, saved us, and sustains us should be the most natural and delightful thing in the world. We all know we should pray more. It is easy to just say a quick meaningless prayer when you feel like it is something that you have to do. If you feel like prayer is an obligation, it will become a chore and will not be something you enjoy or truly mean. God wants to spend time with you and wants to hear from you, so pray intentionally and tell Him the things that you are going through and the things you are thankful for.  We simply need to pray in a heartfelt, sincere and simple manner. God isn’t looking for fancy words or even many words. He isn’t looking for prepackaged prayers repeated mindlessly. God wants to hear what is on our hearts and minds in an honest and sincere manner.
  3. God likes to show His goodness by answering prayer:  God wants to show you His goodness. Psalm 23:6 says, “Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” We serve a good God that offers us His goodness and then promises us eternity.  This is important to our prayer life because until you’re absolutely convinced that God is a good God and that He never does bad in your life, your prayers are not going to be effective. But when you understand that He is a good God and He wants what’s best for you then your prayers become powerful, passionate and purposeful: in other words, extraordinary.   
  4. God Longs to be close to me:  Prayer is your opportunity to talk with God and should not be avoided. How can you get close to someone if you don’t communicate with them? Make and spend time alone with God, without distraction. James 4:8 says, “Come close to God, and God will come close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners; purify your hearts, for your loyalty is divided between God and the world.” There’s no better feeling than being close to God. In fact, God is one big step closer than anyone else ever can be; He’s there in you. He’s there in the room with you. And when you sit in that meeting with a customer, and your mind is working a million miles an hour trying to understand problems and develop solutions without resources and in spite of office politics, He is there. When family problems mount, He is there. In the toughest moments in life, we can have the incredible, indescribable joy and peace because God is in that place. Jesus wants to guide our way through life, but we have to be willing to let Him. We don’t need an international mobile phone to talk to God; we can talk anytime, anywhere, because He is there. We can ask for advice, help, guidance, wisdom and then trust that He will guide and lead us in the way we should go.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What obstacles and distractions does a persons prayer life face? Discuss the ones that seem to affect you the most. 
  2. What causes distraction from prayer? What can we do to overcome those obstacles? 
  3. What does it mean to be simple and sincere in our prayer life? 
  4. What is your motivation to talking to God?
  5. What is extraordinary prayer? 
  6. Where can we practice extraordinary prayer? How can we foster a culture of extraordinary prayer?
  7. Why should we pray extraordinarily? 
  8. How does extraordinary prayer show a picture of our union with Christ? 
  9. How does extraordinary prayer unite us with one another? 
  10. What is one thought or idea from this week’s sermon that especially intrigued, provoked, disturbed, challenged, encouraged, helped, or surprised you?
  11. What will you do? How will you or your group put into practice what you’ve learned this week?

Take one thing home with you:

“ For as the waters fill the sea, the earth will be filled with an awareness of the glory of the Lord.” (Habakkuk 2:14)

Extraordinary prayer focuses on seeing God glorified as the lost become saved. The foundation for extraordinary prayer lies in asking the Holy Spirit to teach you how to pray, and in learning to listen to His voice to guide you through your prayer times. The Holy Spirit is the One that informs our prayers and the power that unleashes our prayers for His glory. 

We invite you to join others at Northstar as we seek Him for a movement of extraordinary prayer. We believe God is calling us to spend more time praying for the glory of the Lord to cover the earth, starting right here in our own church and community.