January 3: 1,630 Kilometers of Prayer
1. Describe a time when you felt God’s presence guiding you through difficulty. Did you recognize God’s presence in your situation at the time or only when looking back on it? What did this experience teach you about God’s faithfulness?
2. What scripture passages do you rely on during times of fear, worry, or uncertainty? What practices help you to remember these passages? Which do you find most meaningful?
3. Recall a time when a community of Christians offered prayers for you. What was the situation? Did it make a difference that more than one person was praying for you? Do you think it affected the outcome of your situation?
4. What challenges are you facing today for which you would like the prayers of your church community?
5. Name one small action you can take to become more connected to Christians across the globe. What is your prayer for God’s family of believers the world over?
January 10: A Faithful Steward
1. When have you had a job or a role that felt mundane or even unimportant? When others asked you about this job, how did you describe it? Can you identify with the writer’s feelings?
2. Think about a time when you felt you were serving God joyfully. What were you doing? Who was with you? How could you serve God joyfully this week?
3. When you think about serving God joyfully or serving others with love, which Bible stories or characters come to mind?
4. What practices, prayers, or scriptures help you to remember God’s presence in your daily life? What new practice will you incorporate into your day to help you be mindful of God?
5. Whose work at your church or workplace most often goes unnoticed? How can you express gratitude for their efforts?
January 17: The Gift of a Bible
1. Do you remember the first Bible you owned? What memories do you associate with it?
2. Describe your relationship to reading scripture over the course of your life. Has the way you read scripture or the frequency changed since you started reading the Bible? How has reading scripture affected your relationship with God and with other Christians?
3. The writer of today’s meditation says, “The Bible is personal, a lamp for our path today and for the future.” When has this been true for you?
4. Have you ever tried to read through the entire Bible in a year? What was it like? What did you notice in scripture that you had not seen before?
5. Are some parts of scripture more important than others? Why or why not?
January 24: Heal Me — Now!
1. Do you believe that experiencing pain and suffering — both emotional and physical — serves a purpose? Do you think God ever wants us to suffer? Why or why not?
2. Today’s “Thought for the Day” says, “Healing may come slowly, but God is with me through it all.” Talk about a time in your life when God was with you “through it all.”
3. What role does God have in healing us? What role do we have in our own healing? Why do you think healing comes quickly for some people and not at all for others?
4. The quoted scripture verse for today’s meditation invites us to pour our hearts out to God. When was the last time you poured your heart out to God? What did you say to God?
5. Who in your church community needs prayers of healing today? How often will you pray for them in the coming week? For what will you pray?
January 31: Eager to Serve
1. What do you think about the exchange on the bus between the man and the writer’s friend Sheila? Have you ever had a similar conversation with someone? Describe the experience. What did you learn from it?
2. When have you felt like you were in exactly the place God wanted you to be? Where were you? What made you feel that God wanted you there?
3. In what ways do you prepare yourself to share the gospel with others? Is there such a thing as a right time and a wrong time to share the gospel with another person? Why or why not?
4. Have you ever tried to share your faith with someone only to offend the person? How did the person respond to you? Why was he or she offended? Should we be concerned whether we offend others when trying to share our faith with them?
5. Are there ways we can share the love, sacrifice, and redemption Jesus offers without talking about them directly? If so, what are they? In your opinion, what is the best way to share your faith with others?
“I praise God for the ministry of The Upper Room. After publishing a daily devotional, I received a message from a 16-year old in South Africa thanking me for lifting her out of depression.” Read Tony’s devotional here.