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Awakening: Group Guide Week 1

Gather (30-60 min)

Spend time together. This can be light refreshments or a meal, and you should make sure it’s compliant with every member’s fast, but simply begin your time together with fellowship. Catch up, get to know one another, have fun. Much of Jesus’ ministry was spent around a table. There is power in simply spending time with one another over a meal! 

 

If this is your first meeting as a new group or if you have new members,  here are a few questions to get conversation flowing. 

  1. What is one thing you would rate “10 out of 10”?

  2. What could you give a 40 minute presentation on with no preparation?

  3. What is something you have been meaning to try but haven’t gotten around to?

 

Begin with prayer (5 minutes)

Gather together as a Community in a comfortable setting (around a table, on the couch, the floor of a living room, etc.). Have somebody lead a prayer asking the Holy Spirit to lead and guide your time together. 

Debrief the teaching (10-15 minutes)

Talk through the following debrief questions:

  1. Did you listen to this past week’s teaching? What did you think?

  2. Did you learn anything new? 

  3. Did anything resonate with you or intrigue you? 

  4. Did any scripture make an impact on you? 

Have someone read Matthew 9:15. 

 

Jesus said His disciples “will fast.” Everything Jesus instructed us to do is purposeful, powerful and effective. This being true…

 

  • In what ways do you think fasting could affect your relationship with God and His plans for your life?

 

Read this overview (5 minutes) 

“Fasting is one of the most abused and least used of all the spiritual disciplines. Yet for millennia, it has been a core practice for apprenticeship to Jesus. All the great heroes of the Old Testament fasted. The first story we read about Jesus’ adult life is of him fasting for forty days and nights, like Moses and Elijah before him. The central characters of the New Testament continued this practice, as did the early church, which fasted twice a week - every Wednesday and Friday - for over a millennia. It’s not until quite recently that fasting fell out of favor. 

 

And that comes as no surprise. We live in a culture not only of food, but of excess and luxury and addiction to what psychologists call “the pleasure principle.” Yet for so many of us, the desires of our body have come to hold power over us. In the battle with our “flesh,” we have become its slave, not its master. 

 

Fasting is an ancient Christian discipline to break the power of the flesh in our life – our desires, sins, and cravings – and to feed on the Holy Spirit.” - practicingtheway.com

Fasting, when coupled with prayer, is one of the most powerful spiritual exercises we can engage in. Over time, the pressures of life, the weakness of our flesh, and just the day-to-day busyness of life itself can weigh us down, causing us to get out of sync with God and His plan for our lives. But fasting helps us hit the reset button, and draw closer to God (James 4:8).

 

Discussion (15-20 minutes) 

 

  • What happens when we start to get out of line with God’s will for our lives?

  • What are some of the warning signs you’ve experienced that indicate it’s time to hit the reset button?

  • How do you feel about the spiritual practice of fasting?

  • Is fasting a new experience for anyone? What are your current impressions or understanding of what fasting is? 

  • Do any of you fast on a regular basis? Do you have any encouraging stories of fasting and the role it’s played in your apprenticeship to Jesus?

  • What obstacles do you anticipate impeding you in your fast? 

  • What’s an area of your life you would love to receive more freedom in? 

  • Does anyone want to share how they have mapped out their fast or want help in planning it out? 

  • Share 1 or 2 things you are hoping comes out of this season of fasting.

    • Write these down. As a group commit to praying for each other and God to be more fully realized within your group. 

In Luke 4:1 when Jesus was led into the wilderness, the Bible said He was filled with the Holy Spirit. After forty days of fasting…

 

Then Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and news of Him went out through all the surrounding region. (Luke 4:14)

 

  • How would you describe what happened to Jesus as a result of His forty-day season of prayer and fasting?

  • What does this power look like and in what form/ways is it available to us as followers of Jesus? 

 

Close in prayer (5 min)

Close your time by taking prayer requests and letting a few people volunteer to end the evening in prayer. 

Plan out next week's meal/refreshments (who will bring what?)