September 1: Before a Breakthrough
1. When you are faced with an obstacle, do you find it easy to remain positive, or do you lose hope and feel discouraged? Where do you find encouragement during trying times?
2. Describe a recent situation when God provided for you. How did you praise and thank God for that provision?
3. Is it easy for you to praise God before you see the outcome of a situation? Why or why not? How does the Israelites’ example inspire you to praise God before your breakthroughs?
4. How do you respond to God when you do not receive the outcome you prayed for? How do you trust God’s will when the breakthrough you are hoping for doesn’t come?
5. Who in the Bible reminds you of the importance of trusting God through adversity? How did God provide for this person? How does their story encourage you?
September 8: The Birdbath
1. When has someone treated you in a way that felt disrespectful? Did you share your feelings with this person or keep them to yourself? Is there ever a time when someone doesn’t deserve respect? Explain.
2. What scripture passages remind you of the importance of treating everyone with love and respect? Which of these scripture passages challenge you the most?
3. Today’s writer used her feelings of shame as encouragement to grow spiritually. How does our relationship with God enable us to do this?
4. What do you think God sees when God looks at you? What does God see when God looks at others? How does it affect our relationships with other people when we try to see them as God does?
5. How does your faith community help you to love those whom you struggle to love? What ministries help your faith community to show love to others?
September 15: Hope and a Future
1. What daily rituals help you to live out your faith? How does your daily routine strengthen your faith?
2. Recall an important lesson that you learned as a child. How might your life have turned out differently had you not learned this lesson?
3. Where do you most clearly see God’s grace in your life? Where do you see it in the lives of your loved ones?
4. When have you been surprised by something God has done in your life? In what ways did this change how you think about grace?
5. Describe how your loved ones and your faith community help you to deepen your relationship with God. How do those around you serve as examples of God’s love and grace? In what ways does spending time with God and others fortify you to face life’s storms?
September 22: Let Us Be One
1. Have you ever attended a worship service in a denomination other than your own? If so, what was your experience? What did you learn? In what ways can we benefit from worshiping God in a new, unfamiliar style?
2. What style of worship do you prefer? What do you like best about that style? What challenges does worshiping God in a new way pose? What opportunities might it create?
3. Why do you think God created so much diversity among people? In what ways is this a blessing? In what ways is it a challenge? Name something you have learned from someone who is different from you.
4. Name some scripture passages that encourage us to live and worship in harmony with other Christians. How can we apply these passages to our relationships?
5. How does your faith community connect with Christians of different denominations or worship styles? In what ways could this strengthen Christian unity?
September 29: Listening
1. Describe a time when you were shown hospitality. How did it make you feel? What did it teach you about hospitality?
2. Is your way of showing hospitality more like Mary or Martha? Does it depend on the situation? Name some of the pros and cons of both approaches.
3. Do you find it easy or difficult to listen to others? What spiritual practices help you to be a better listener?
4. Today’s writer says that listening is a spiritual gift and skill. What other spiritual gifts and skills are important when showing others God’s love?
5. How well does your church community listen to those to whom it offers assistance? How might it listen better? What are the benefits of good listening?
I could not have found The Upper Room Moments of Prayer (on Facebook Live) sooner. For it is during these moments of centering spiritual practices, meditating on the words of scripture, praying with and for the world, that I find moments of transcendence, hear whispers of peace and hope, see glimpses of truth and justice, behold visions of love and beauty amid all the stark realities that are around me.”