The following are discussion questions you can use if you’d like to continue to ponder any edition of When You Don’t Know What to Pray, or if you’d like to discuss this book with your friends or study groups. Also note that there is (soon to be) a new audible book! Watch for it at Audible.com
When You Don’t Know What to Pray Reader’s Guide
The world is more chaotic than ever with more war, natural disasters, debt, and heartache. How could there be a loving God when so many things have gone wrong? Where was God when we asked him to bless us? Was he listening? Could it be we’re not praying with the right words or attitude?
I can’t judge your heart, but I do know God’s great loving-kindness and mercy. Whether you believe your prayers have been answered or not, I believe God is calling out to you in his loving way. He’s calling you to awaken; church to arise from your slumber.
The way you’ve understood prayer in the past needs to be challenged, expanded, and explored. Prayer may not be all you thought it was, because, in fact, it may be more. It’s time to pray in a way that will change your perspective about God and his plan for your life. Despite the hardships you may have endured, God is even now turning your life into a miracle. When you learn how to pray in God’s will, you will watch that miracle unfold.
You are loved and not forgotten. God has good purposes for those who love him who are called to walk in his ways. Let’s wake up to be one of his children of purpose who will make a difference in our world and in his kingdom to come. Get ready to pray through this book. If you are not in a discussion group, jot your answers into a journal or notepad. Let us wake up to joy and a thankful heart. But first, let us pray …
1: Project Prayer
- Linda tells a story about a woman named Barb who was angry at both God and herself. How did Barb’s anger interfere with her relationship with God? How did Barb get set free?
- How can one have guaranteed prayer results? Why was Simon unsuccessful in securing the anointing of God to heal others? What danger did he evoke by trying to buy the power of God?
- What was the powerful prayer that Linda prayed that changed her life? Do you need to pray a prayer like that? Write your own prayer to give your situation to God.
- Why is friendship with God difficult when we feel angry at God, ourselves, or others? Why does it hurt us to hold a secret or not so secret grudge against God? What four results would you receive if you were able to “let go” of any grudges and reconcile with God?
- What’s the flaw in Why Not’s death wish. Does Jesus weep with those who grieve? How do we know? What does God want to do with our burdens and circumstances? Why?
- What does 1 Peter 5:7 mean when it says to “Cast all your anxieties on him?” Can we really trust God with our burdens? How?
- How would you write a prayer to cast your burdens and cares on God?
2: The Five Keys to Power Prayer
- Jesus was the first to pray a power prayer. Based on his prayer, known as the Lord’s Prayer, name five keys to power prayer and give an example of how to use each key to create a prayer of your own.
- What does it mean to repent? Why does God advise us to repent? Linda talks about two major benefits a person will receive when they repent of their sin. What are they? Can you think of an example to share about a time you received one of these benefits?
- How does Linda’s escape from the nest of baby rattlesnakes apply to a way we can get out of sin? Read 1 Corinthians 6: 9–11 and give examples of how a person can step away from different kinds of sin. Why is it important to ask God for the power to repent?
- Why does God answer our prayers? Why did God answer the prayer Linda prayed for Kate?
- Is it okay to ask God for specific prayer requests? Give examples of times God answered specific prayers.
- Why does God say no to some prayer requests, like the request the apostle Paul prayed to “remove the thorn in his flesh”? Why didn’t Paul continue to fight with God after it was clear God’s answer was no? What can we learn from Paul’s attitude?
- Does God always hear our prayer requests? Jesus thanked God for hearing his prayer request when he prayed that Lazarus would be raised from the dead. What can we learn from this?
- Take turns praying for specific prayer requests for either yourself or the people in the group (or people you know.)
3: What to Pray for Yourself
- Why do you think it’s so hard to really believe in and feel God’s love for us? What would it take to help you to understand it? Take a moment to pray for a deeper understanding of God’s love for yourself and everyone in your group.
- According to Linda, what is the “divine question” and how did Jesus answer it?
- Seeing Jesus die on the cross was part of Lucifer’s demonic plan. How and why did his plan backfire?
- What are the four steps to a relationship with God through Christ? Tell about the first time you discovered this to be true for yourself.
- Discuss how Louisa May Alcott’s character, Edith, from The Inheritance parallels who we are in Christ?
- Read the “Knowing Who You Are in Christ” list of attributes aloud. Pick one of the attributes to your identity in Christ and explain why it’s meaningful to you.
- Read John 17:1–26. List the things Christ prayed for us in his closing benediction before he suffered the cross.
4: What to Pray to Help You Realize God’s Presence
- What are some reasons we may not be able to feel God’s presence? Which of these reasons can we do something about?
- Not only do we need to invite God into all areas of our lives, we need to entertain his presence. List several ways to do that.
- Why did Sheila feel God was for everyone but her? Compose a prayer that someone like Sheila could pray to help her understand that God is for her.
- How does having a broken heart keep us from feeling God’s presence? How did Kathy begin to feel God’s presence when her mom was in the hospital? What are the two things Linda suggests you do if you have a broken heart?
- Read Psalms 34 and list all the ways God delivers those who cry out to him.
- How does the story of the princess relate to God’s great love for us?
5: What to Pray When Your Burdens Are Heavy
- What is the divine benefit of trouble? How and why does it point us to God?
- If you were to write a letter to help the suicidal GodTest.com visitor, what would you say?
- Read Psalms 68:19. Review your list of all the cares you would like to cast on God. If you haven’t already done so, name your cares in a prayer, giving each to God.
- Read Luke 11:46. Why was Jesus angry at the religious leaders of the day? Why was this opposite of what is written in 1 Peter 5:7?
- Read the poem It’s Your Turn, aloud again as a prayer.
- How did God heal Linda’s heart when she realized he was not going to further heal Laura’s disabilities?
- How will you put on the full armor of God? What difference will it make to your life?
6: What to Pray When You’ve Been Betrayed
- In Da Jesus Book, we are warned not to stay in a “huhu” with others so God will not stay in a “huhu” with us. Based on Mark 11:25, translate the word huhu and think of those people you have a current “huhu” against. Pray and ask God to help you let go of those “huhus” so God will let go of his “huhus” against you.
- List the benefits that Betrayed would gain if she could forgive those who wronged her. How would it be possible for “Betrayed” to forgive such terrible wrongs? If you were trying to give Betrayed wise counsel, what would you tell her?
- Was it okay for Linda to be bitter against Sharon Caine’s killer? Can Sharon’s murder be justified? What did Linda learn about forgiveness in that situation? Which of these truths can you can apply to your life?
- Can God forgive murderers like the man from Beaumont who killed the two ladies in a bank robbery? Why? How? Think of the worst thing you’ve ever done. Read Colossians 1:13–14 and then answer this question: Can God really forgive me for what I did? Has he already? If you’re not sure, take time to apologize to God now, through his Son, Jesus, then spend some time KNOWing you are forgiven.
- Why did Abigail need to apologize for her husband? How did that apology save her life? Can you think of peaceful words you need to deliver to or on behalf of another?
- Why do we need to apologize to others when we find ourselves in conflict? Is there anyone to whom you owe an apology? Ask God to give you an opportunity to apologize, and then act on it. If it means making a phone call or writing a letter or e-mail today, do it.
7: What to Pray When Everything Goes Wrong
- Think about Linda’s very bad day. List all the things that went wrong with the day, and then list all the things that went right. Do you see how counting blessings helps give you a new perspective? Now, think about your day. Of course you had things go wrong, but try to change your perspective by focusing on what went right. Make a list.
- Read a part of God’s response to Job’s “why” question in Job 40:1–14. What is God’s point? How does Job respond? What does this exchange between God and Job mean?
- Think of the story Linda shared about the New York fireman who died of cancer. How did what happened on 9/11 change the fireman’s sister’s perspective of the tragedy? Do you think God may have a different perspective on what we consider our tragedies? Can you give examples?
- What is the difference between mercy and grace?
- Is it a good idea to give God our very lives daily? Do you think we can trust God that much or do you think God would use our submission to him to play dirty tricks on us? Why or why not? How much control do we really have over our lives?
- According to Linda, what are the three things we should pray when we are going through a difficult time? Turn those three things into a prayer.
8: What to Pray in Difficult Finances
- Read Matthew 6:19–21. What’s the difference between earthly treasures and heavenly treasure? Which is best to collect? Which treasures do you wish to add to your collection?
- It was reported that a multi-million-dollar lottery winner committed suicide. Apparently, even with all his millions, he was unable to buy happiness. Do you think it is possible to buy happiness? Do you think some people would have happier lives without wealth? Is it wrong to be wealthy?
- Read Philippians 4:19. Make a list of needs you would like to offer to the Lord, through Jesus. Stop and ask God to meet these needs.
- How did Karen O’Connor recover from financial debt? What was one thing that impressed you about her story? Name Karen’s four financial disciplines. Explain which of these disciplines you want to strive to achieve and why.
- Read Matthew 14:13–20. How is this story like the story Linda told about her ministry’s budget goals? Do you think God could multiply what you have to meet your needs? Ask him in prayer.
- Can we run up our credit cards frivolously then ask God to pay our bills? Under what conditions can we seek God when we need help with a bill? Is there a bill you need to dedicate to God? Pray and do so, then determine how God may be calling you to additional financial responsibility.
- Do you think 10 percent is enough to give as a tithe? Pray and seek the Lord to see if this is the amount he wants you to give. Sit quietly before him on this issue. He may or may not choose to answer immediately, but make yourself ready to apply his answer when he gives it.
9: Praying for Others
- Read Galatians 6:2. Why do you think we are to carry each other’s burdens? How does one do that? What burden do you have for another? Stop and take it to the Lord in prayer, right now.
- What would have happened if Moses had not prayed for the children of Israel when they built a golden calf to worship? If you knew that your prayers could make such a significant difference when prayed on the behalf of others, how would that change your prayer life?
- Read Luke 5:17–26. Jesus had the power to heal the sick and forgive sins. Which of these two gifts is most important, to be healed or to be forgiven? Why did the Pharisees think Jesus’ words about forgiving sins were blasphemous? Were the words of Jesus an insult to God? Why or why not?
- Reread Luke 6:28–29 and decide exactly to whom God is calling us to pray. Are there people in your life you need to add to your prayer list? Stop and pray for them now.
- Read Hebrews 7:23–25. Does Jesus pray for us? Why? What do you think he accomplishes in his prayers? What kinds of things do you think he prays for you?
- Why is it important to forgive others? Why did forgiveness make a difference in Marie’s prayers for her family? Do you have people for whom you pray who need your forgiveness? Stop and ask God to help give you the power to forgive and ask him to forgive each of these persons with his power, through you.
- If you are in a group setting, ask each person in the group what they would like for you to agree with them in prayer, regarding a specific prayer request, then pray a prayer of agreement with them as a group. If you can’t agree with a particular request, find a way to come to an agreement with their request, perhaps on a different level. Once you agree, pray the prayer of agreement in the name of Jesus. If you are not in a group setting, seek out a friend to pray in a prayer of agreement.
10: Can We Really Trust God with Our Prayers
- Read Romans 8:28. Explain why you should trust God with your circumstances.
- How was Joseph able to stay cheerful despite his circumstances? How can you?
- Read Genesis 50:19–20. Why did Joseph forgive his wayward brothers?
- Do you think when God is with us we couldn’t be safer? Why or why not? Reread Daniel 3:16–18. What did Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego say of the danger they faced? Who was in the flames with them?
- What should you do when you are overcome with fear? Do you have the right to pray that the enemy be bound? In whose name should you pray?
- When God leads us to take the next step, what should we do? If you have a question about what that next step should be regarding a circumstance you are in, stop and ask God to show you. Remember, God may not answer immediately, but his answers are never too late.
11: Why God Answers
- Think of a prayer that God has answered, either in your own life or from a story in the Bible. Go over the top ten reasons why God answers prayer found in the beginning of this chapter and try to identify why you think God answered the request you are thinking of.
- Could it be that God is a jealous God because he’s jealous for us? Perhaps God wants us to turn from false gods in order to protect us. Make a list of the false gods we worship in our society today, and then lay each of these gods down before God. For example, pray: “I surrender the god of (money) to you, Lord. You supply my needs. I do not need to worship money.”
- Is it possible to pray to the Lord through our tears? Why? How? Are there other ways one can pray to God?
- How did Elijah hear God’s voice on the mountain? What are the ways God speaks to us today? If you can, share an example with your group, or write an example in a journal.
- Read 1 John 4:1–3. Why does Linda ask, “Lord, is that really you?” when she thinks God is speaking to her. What counterfeit voices are in the world?
- Discuss the kinds of things the enemy will whisper to our spirits. Ask God, in the name of Jesus, to silence this voice now. Pray this prayer again whenever you think it’s warranted.
12: Our Response
- What are the kinds of things that could happen if you refuse to do what you clearly know God wants you to do?
- Review the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20:1–17. Based on those scriptures, make a list of ways we can obey God.
- Think about, write down, or share about a time you had to make a hard choice and do the right thing. Do you think it had a positive impact on (A) You, (B) Someone else, or (C) Your relationship with God? Why or why not.
- How does one double-check if he/she has heard from the Lord? If one does hear from the Lord, why be obedient to the call? Reread the list of the things God asks of his prophets? Which of these is God saying to you?
- Write a list of things you would do if you weren’t afraid. Dedicate this list to God. Ask him to take away your fear and direct your path according to his will regarding your list.
- According to the story recorded in the first chapter of Deuteronomy, how did the children of Israel do wrong in the eyes of God. What did they do to correct it? Why was their follow-up action incorrect? How should they have responded?
- In accordance with the story of David and Saul, what should you do if you are in conflict with someone in ministry leadership?
Conclusion: Discovering Joy
- Think of the orphans in Mexico who gave out of their abundance. List ways you can share your abundance with others.
- Create a short sermon (one to two minutes) that you need to hear and preach it to yourself, your group, or jot it down.
- What was your favorite lesson in the book and why?
- What was your favorite story from the book and why?
- What was your favorite prayer from the book and why?
- Pray the last prayer in the book again.