2-17-2019

02-16&17-2019
Rev. Trevor Johnston
Sermon Series: Miracles
God of the Possible
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  1. Recite together Ephesians 3:20-21 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” 
  2. Share about a time in your life when you prayed for something, and God went above and beyond what you expected.  
  3. Trevor asked us to give God a chance to blow our minds.  Why do people sometimes underestimate what prayer could do?
  4. Trevor gave three possibilities regarding how people might feel about prayer. Describe what he meant by each one.  
    1. Unfamiliar with prayer
    2. Disappointed with prayer
    3. Overfamiliar with prayer
  5. Which of the above three attitudes toward prayer have you experienced at some point in your life?  What is your current attitude toward prayer?
  6. Unfamiliar with Prayer:
  7. Can you remember when you first understood what prayer is about?  If so, describe what led to that “aha moment” and how you felt.  
  8. Read Matthew 21:18-22:  “Early in the morning, as Jesus was on his way back to the city, he was hungry.  Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.  When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked. Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.”
  9. What was Jesus trying to communicate to His followers in Matthew 21:18-22?
  10. Jesus’ words, “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer” can be confusing. Why is this a difficult verse?
  11. Jesus understands the pain of unanswered prayer, because He has experienced that Himself.  Name some times when Jesus’ prayer did not get answered the way He had hoped.  
  12. Disappointed with Prayer:  
  13. Read Acts 12:1-4: “It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them.  He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.  When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread.  After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.”
  14. The church had certainly prayed their hearts out for James to be rescued, but that prayer wasn’t answered the way they had hoped.  Share about a time when you were disappointed with prayer.  
  15. Read Acts 12:5: “So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.”  Skim through the rest of this story and talk about how God answered their prayer.  
  16. Notice that these early Christians didn’t give up on prayer after James was killed, thought that must have been hugely disappointing for them.  They still prayed when Peter got arrested.  What keeps you praying, even when you’ve experienced a major disappointment with prayer?
  17. Overfamiliar with Prayer:
  18. Read Acts 12:12-14: “When this had dawned on him, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered and were praying.  Peter knocked at the outer entrance, and a servant named Rhoda came to answer the door. When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed she ran back without opening it and exclaimed, ‘Peter is at the door!’  ‘You’re out of your mind,’ they told her. When she kept insisting that it was so, they said, ‘It must be his angel.’ But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished. Peter motioned with his hand for them to be quiet and described how the Lord had brought him out of prison. ‘Tell James and the other brothers and sisters about this,’ he said, and then he left for another place.”  
  19. What does their response here show about their expectation regarding their prayers?
  20. Read Mark 11:22-24: “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 
  21. What questions or comments come to your mind as you read this passage?
  22. What “mountain” in your life right now do you need Jesus to move for you?  Share that with your group and then take time as a group to pray for each other’s requests. 

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