Awakening: Group Guide Week 2

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. 

Read this overview 

In Luke 10 we read about the story of Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus. Besides pointing out the universal truth that siblings get into fights, even in front of Jesus, this story raises a good question to us. Are we disciplined in sitting attentively at the feet of Jesus? If we could take an honest inventory of our life we might discover that we spend more time sitting with sin or distractions than we realize. Unfortunately, that’s how sin works. It’s sneaky, it’s camouflaged, it gives you a taste, and grows with time. 

 

Among many other reasons, fasting gives an opportunity for the believer to awaken their senses to spiritual misalignment; pausing distractions in order to position ourselves to hear God. Fasting helps us partner with God’s will, positions us at the feet of the Master, and lends to time spent listening for the voice of God. Our practice of fasting and prayer helps develop a hunger for God; curating intimacy with Him. As one preacher says it, “we fast from food in order to feast on the Spirit.” 

 

This past week we covered 3 things fasting can do in you. 

  1. Creates empty space in us for God to fill. 

  2. Removes distractions so you can tune in more easily to God, much like Mary in Luke 10. 

  3. Enables God to do something new in you Matthew 9. 

Fasting is one method of engaging our entire person (not just your mind) in prayer. Fasting fosters an internal intimacy, a quiet space, in which God’s voice has more room. Like any relationship, we hear one another better when we focus our entire person on the other. Fasting is not a hunger strike, but it is a way of expressing to God our hunger for Him to move in our life.

Discussion (20-25 min)

  • How has your fast been going? Has your view of fasting shifted since we began this series? How?

  • Have you noticed any unhealthy distractions or desires coming to the surface since you started practicing fasting? How have you been handling these distractions and obstacles? 

  • How have you been interacting with God this past week? What have you been learning about yourself or about God through fasting so far? 

  • What is an area of your life in which you would love to discern God’s will? 

  • Is it easy for you to hear God’s voice?

  • Does anyone have any encouraging stories about fasting and discernment from their own life?

  • What adjustments can you make in your life to spend more time seeking God? 

  • What does making space for God look like for you this week? How might you use the fast to your advantage in this? 

  • Of the 3 things we learned fasting can do in us, which one would you personally like to experience in this series?

Extended prayer time to Close (10-15 min)

The awakening experience is not just abstaining from food but also seeking God with increased intentional prayer. End your time together by opening up the floor for an increased time of prayer.

Take your time, invite God to speak, and give time for the Holy Spirit to minister. Perhaps open with a small scripture reading or a favorite psalm. 

  • If there is anyone for whom God seems distant (whether His voice or His ear), spend time praying over them and asking God to allow His presence to be near and perceptible as they fast. Declare over them God’s delight in speaking to and hearing us, His children. Ask God to silence every voice that isn’t the Spirit and to amplify and clarify the Spirit’s own voice. 

  •  Ask God to bring to each person’s mind an area in which He wants to speak into her/his life or be heard by them this week. Spend some time in silence, allowing the Spirit to speak. 

  • If people feel comfortable, share the areas that the Spirit is revealing and spend time praying over each person asking God to reveal His will in these areas this week. 

For most of us, fasting is new and complicated. That’s okay! No one—least of all God—expects you to be an expert, already fluent in the art of fasting. Close in prayer by inviting Jesus to teach you, remembering the Father’s loving patience, and by thanking God in advance for the ways in which He will hear us and be heard by us this week.