God wants us to boldly come with our requests. (14-15)
We are called to be observant and to intercede in our spiritual family regarding sin. (16-17)
Does God do His will without being asked?
Does God give us whatever we ask for?
What is the sin that leads to death? Does all sin lead to death or just one?
How narrow or broad is God’s will?
Intercession through prayer is powerful. (Hebrews 11:32-40; James 5:16)
Have confidence in your salvation.
Bend your will to God’s, not His to yours.
Intercede with boldness.
Intercede with faith.
How confident are you in coming to God with requests? Some are more inclined not to speak up about their needs, while others will over communicate. To which do you tend to gravitate? How does approaching God with boldness reconcile with fearing the Lord in reverence? Do you have a story of a time when you boldly prayed for something and God delivered? Would you share that story?
When you feel unsure of your relationship with God, how does that affect your prayer life? When you are in doubt, do you pray your way through it or do you pull away and wait for those feelings to pass? How do you handle it when you are insecure in a human relationship? Is the pattern the same with God or different?
What do you think of the idea that we are called to interact with others in the church regarding their conduct? Is that an outdated concept from an ancient culture that doesn’t fit our ideas of propriety? Has anyone ever done this to you – confronted you on your sin? When people are confronted about their sin they generally run away. Why do you suppose that is? What is the impact of running away from accountability?
Have you ever struggled with the question, “What is the point of praying for God to do His own will?” What do you think about the answers offered in the sermon? Do you try to convince God to do your will in prayer?
What is your understanding of the sin that leads to death? What is your reaction to there being such a thing? Some Christians don’t want to talk about such things for fear of using guilt to govern behavior. Others emphasize that we do a disservice to those who need to be warned. Which do you think is the right approach, keeping silent or speaking up at the risk of offending? What do you think John is referring to when he says there is a sin that leads to death?
When we talk about God’s will, how do you understand that? Is God’s will very broad, or is it really narrow? Using the playground analogy, do you think God’s will is “go play” or “play on the swing set for 10 minutes?” Does God’s will include what you wear, eat and drink? How specific is God’s will?
Have your children (if you have any) or anyone in the next generation ever heard you pray with boldness? What keeps you from coming to God with confidence?
Do you really believe that your prayers make a difference? Why do some Christians who profess to believe this pray so little? What would you like your prayer life to look like?