I am very excited to share my new small group guide for Organizing Your Prayer Closet! Get a copy of the book, grab your friends and use this guide to walk through 10 weeks of structured prayer journaling together!
THE SMALL GROUP STUDY GUIDE
Thank you for choosing Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray for your small group. It is an honor for me to share structured prayer journaling with those whom desire clarity for authentic Christian living and a disciplined prayer life. This is an excellent resource for a small group study.
My goal in writing this book is to impart 1 Peter 4:7, which is listed at the top right hand corner of each Prayer Closet Organizer worksheet. It says, “The end of everything has come. Therefore, be self-controlled and clearheaded so you can pray.” What this scripture is really saying is that every matter in our lives will conclude one way or another; therefore, it would behoove us to be disciplined and clear-minded so we can effectively pray over those matters. Enter the Prayer Closet Organizer, where we bring those matters, become disciplined and clear in mind to pray. Then see what God does.
The purpose of hosting a small group is to share what God is doing with one another, which you will find to be very encouraging. It is really exciting to share and hear how God is moving in each other’s lives. Moreover, we can further learn from one another.
So, get your prayer partner, girlfriends, neighbors, co-workers, church group or other small group together and begin to share your prayer time together with more clarity than ever before. This guide may also be used for personal study.
Recommended Small Group Meeting Format
- Welcome and introductions
- Start with a short prayer to clear minds and quieten spirits
- Encourage participants to recite memorized scriptures from their current Prayer Closet Organizer Worksheet
- Engage in the “Scripture Study” together
- Discuss pre-selected “Discussion Starters” from the guide
- Facilitate the “Suggested Activities”
- Invite the participants to voluntarily share updates from their Prayer Closet Organizer as they wish
- Pray for one another
Tips for Success
- Begin with an introductory meeting to insure everyone has their book and understands how to organize their Prayer Closet Organizer (See “Quick Guide” below). Introduce the format of the small group meeting. Share the confidentiality rule and other good small group etiquette expectations. Discuss 1 Peter 4:7. Stress the importance of scripture memorization and Bible study as outlined in the other “Tips for Success” that are listed below.
- Commit to make meeting weekly a priority and agree upon the best day and time, and follow the “Recommended Small Group Format”.
- The participants will get the most from this small group study experience if they are utilizing the Prayer Closet Organizer while studying the chapters. As they study each chapter, they will find that their entries will become more refined. This will be a beneficial aspect of their learning curve.
- Encourage the participants to memorize the scriptures in the headers of their Prayer Closet Organizer worksheets so they will be prepared to recite a few of them at the meetings.
- All members must commit to confidentiality in order to create a safe place for sharing
- Create an environment where the participants will feel free to laugh at themselves, share their disappointments, discuss serious struggles, cry when upset, celebrate with praise and thanksgiving, and most of all, be themselves.
- Encourage your participants to study the whole chapter or story in the scriptures of any biblical illustrations Gina uses in her chapters, so they can further glean even more clarity and additional precepts on prayer.
- Invite participants to bring their different Bible translations, concordances, commentaries and other resources to use as reference material for the “Scripture Study” exercise.
- Consider handing out next week’s questions to your group so they will be ready to discuss
- Utilize the “Suggested Activities” to further discover each compartment of the Prayer Closet Organizer
- Prompt Twiterers to tweet using the hashtags at the end of each discussion session to engage them with a larger audience. For those who do not tweet, encourage them to express themselves in their Facebook status updates and on the book’s Facebook Fan Page at http://on.fb.me/161wuQI AND join Organizing Your Prayer Closet’s closed group if you wish to share what God is doing in your prayer closet and allow others to pray for you – go here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/558343977600824/ (copy and paste links if you need to.)
- Take the liberty to use the recommended elements from the “Small Group Agenda” for each chapter that works best for you and the participants. Don’t feel as if you have to do every one of them. You can always circle back and do the others on a second or third round should your group continue.
- When your small group has met for all the chapters, you may either disband or continue to meet to share and pray with one another.
- Once this study ends, challenge your participants to multiply by initiating their own small group for Organizing Your Prayer Closet.
- Go to the category for Prayer Journaling at ginaduke.com for more resources and videos to use as extra material.
ABOUT THE ACTIVITIES:
Scripture Study – This is a stand-alone exercise to further investigate the chapter’s topic.
Discussion Starters – These questions facilitate personal reflection and small group participation regarding each chapter.
Twitter Tweetables – Each small group discussion ends with the opportunity to join a larger conversation on social media.
ORGANIZING YOUR PRAYER CLOSET QUICK GUIDE
- Look at each compartment of the weekly worksheet, one at a time, and reflect on your day.
- Write down your thoughts as they come to you – this is organizing your prayer closet.
- Using the scripture headers, pray the word of God over your input.
- Repeat daily.
- Every Sunday, start a new worksheet.
- Periodically review past week’s worksheets and update accordingly.
Tweetable: “#SmallGroup of [ # ] participants from [City/State] checking in @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Small Group Agenda
Chapter 1: Praise and Thanksgiving
Scripture Study: Psalm 47:7. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- Share a time you felt engulfed by God’s presence whether it was in corporate worship or a personal setting. Give details so everyone can be blessed by your experience.
- Using a title of a hymn/worship song, a scripture or a title for Jesus, explain what you think about the Christ?
- Share one emotional void Jesus fills for you.
- Explain how embracing “boring” has helped you sustain a thankful attitude.
- What serious event has happened in your life that made you more thankful for simpler things?
- What are some of your current complaints that you can reframe into statements of thanksgiving?
- What difficulty have you overcome through using words of thanksgiving?
Read the following scriptures and note the subtle interjection of variances of the word “thanksgiving.” Then discuss how this frequently unnoticed word changes the context of the scripture in relation to what you have just studied in chapter 1.
- Colossians 3:15-17
- 1 Corinthians 10:16
- 1 Timothy 4:4
- Philippians 4:6
- Colossians 2:6-8
- Colossians 4:2
- 1 Timothy 2:1
Tweetable: Jesus is [fill in] @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #WhatIThinkAboutTheChrist
Tweetable: The more I praise & thank God the more I’ll experience God’s presence in my life @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Chapter 2: Freedom and Forgiveness
Scripture Study: Proverbs 6:23. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- Do you ever give much thought to your personal failings or sins? Why or why not?
- What personal “junk” do you frequently deal with? (Only share if you feel comfortable)
- When you go back and review this compartment in your Prayer Closet Organizer, have you discovered that you, too, are a “repeat offender”? If so, what are some of your repeat offenses? (Only share what feels comfortable)
- What did this new revelation about James 3:2 mean to you? Did you find it helpful and liberating? If so, why?
- How did you feel when Gina shared her struggle with the frowny-face sin?
- Why do you think addressing personal failings spiritually matures you as Gina suggested?
Using a Bible resource, look up some helpful scriptures for the:
- Tongue (mouth, words, lips)
- Temper (anger, hatred)
- Laziness (slothfulness)
- Others, as suggested by your small group
Tweetable: Use [insert Book, Chapter, Verse] to defeat [anger] @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #helpfulscriptures
Tweetable: God wants more for us than we even want for ourselves @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Chapter 3: Prayer Petitions
Scripture Study: 1 Corinthians 14:15. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- Have you failed to pray for someone whom had asked you?
- Prior to reading Ecclesiastes 5:2 did you have some prayer requests that were lacking in eternal value like Kassie’s request for snow?
- Before reading chapter 3, did you struggle over how to pray for healing? If so, share why.
- How have you liked utilizing the Ask, Seek, Knock prayer strategy?
- How has praying scripture with your petitions helped you pray more effectively?
In addition to utilizing the divine titles and attributes of the Trinity which are summarized below, brainstorm some others for prayer. For example, Gina encouraged us to pray for provision (Jehovah-Jireh) after a job loss rather than another job in case God has something else in mind. We can better learn how to pray God’s will when considering divine titles and attributes of the Godhead.
- When asked to pray over a friend’s risky new business venture, not knowing God’s will, consider Jehovah-Shammal, which means “God is with me”. Pray that God will be with your friend in every transaction. (Psalm 23:4)
- When praying for a serious, but general issue, like child abuse, remember Jesus is our Advocate, and consider praying for the advocacy for those children. Advocates are experts in their field who are passionate, committed and understanding of the situations they represent. It is a more specific prayer for the abused children’s advocacy and can transfer to foster parents, educators and legal representatives. (1 John 2:1)
- When dealing with accusations or dishonorable people we are prone to pray for their demise, but in order to resolve the issue, leaving no doubt in anyone’s mind about the facts, recall that the Spirit of God is also the Spirit of Truth. A higher quality prayer will be for the Holy Spirit to make the truth known to all parties involved in these situations for a complete resolve. (John 16:13)
Now it is your small group’s turn. Using some of the participants’ current requests, discuss some other divine titles and godly attributes that can help them pray more effectively? Don’t forget to share the scriptural reference!
Tweetable: [Your favorite divine title or godly attribute] @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #HigherQualityPrayers
Tweetable: Our prayer petitions should be meaningful and for the good of God’s will @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Chapter 4: God Answers
Scripture Study: Deuteronomy 32:4. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- How are you beginning to see God move in your prayer requests?
- Now that you have learned how to craft a higher quality prayer request, share some of your before and after examples of a prayer petition.
- How has God used a No to more clearly demonstrate the magnificent characteristics and manifold wisdom of Himself in your life?
- Considering Job’s experience and his resolve in Job 13:15, how have you committed to adopt this attitude?
- What are your thoughts about Gina’s perspective on how “God allows and disallows all that happens to us”?
You have been doing structured prayer journaling for about four weeks now. Draw a pie chart and designate the slices according to the Yes’s, No’s, Open and Unknown answers from you Prayer Closet Organizer thus far. Present your illustrations to one another and discuss.
Tweetable: God answered my prayer for [insert answer] @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #GodAnswers
Tweetable: “God says Yes far more than He says No” @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Chapter 5: At the Right Time
Scripture Study: Lamentations 3:24. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- How can you relate to Gina’s pastor’s remark that “Everything that happens to you is not about you”?
- Has there ever been a time when you recognized God’s perfect timing through a series of events? Tell your story to the group.
- Have you ever felt annoyed at God when you were having to wait for what seemed like eternity to get an answer to an urgent request? If so, explain how that experience made you feel about God, and yourself.
- If you are currently waiting for an answer, would you say that you are waiting well? If so, how are you serving God during this time?
- Like Gina, have you ever failed to wait on God, only to realize later what it cost you? Feel free to share.
Using a scale like the one below, rate how well you typically employ patience while waiting on God with 1 being pathetic and a 10 being perfect. Share your ratings with the group and explain why you graded yourself that way.
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
Tweetable: I’m serving God while I wait by (insert type of service) @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #Patience.
Tweetable: ”Not everything that happens to you is about you” @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Chapter 6: My Heart/My Passion
Scripture Study: Philippians 2:13. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- Would you say that you are more of a Christian consumer or contributor at this point in your life?
- Describe the time you either dedicated your life to Christ, or like Gina in Chapter 6, recommitted your life to Christ.
- Where has God opened “a great door of effective work” for you?
- Tell about a time God gave you a vision for a ministry endeavor. How did it turn out?
- What are some examples of creative callings that either you or your friends have?
- How do you feel God is using various experiences to groom you for your ministry calling?
Take a moment to make a general invitation to come to know Christ personally. This time is not meant to embarrass or pressure anyone into a decision, but to answer questions, offer scriptures and have a time of prayer.
If everyone in your group is a Christian, then pair off and pray for each other’s ministry or for their clarity in discovering their pure and holy passion. Also, look up Christy Nockel’s song “One Pure and Holy Passion.”
Tweetable: (Insert your ministry/calling) @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #MyPure&HolyPassion
Tweetable: When our hearts’ desires line up with God’s will, great things happen! @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
If you received salvation while using this book please tweet, I came to know Jesus in my small group @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #IsaidYestoJesus
Chapter 7: Ambassador Notes
Scripture Study: 1 Peter 4:10. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- How has the expression, “Everybody Spends Eternity Somewhere” created a sense of urgency in you to share the gospel?
- Is there someone whom you are too intimidated by to share the gospel? If so, how can you creatively witness to them?
- Whom has God placed in your spiritual custody?
- In what profession or positions do you feel that God is using you “to make known the will of His sovereign”?
- Based upon II Corinthians 6:3, describe a time when you felt you may have created a “stumbling block” to another person due to bad behavior.
List those whom are within your circles of influence by group (family, friends, neighbors, work, other), then ask yourself how you can minister or serve them in such a way that is representative of an Ambassador of Christ. This exercise will provide you with a focused list of those you need to become more intentional with in order that they may be reconciled with God or another.
Tweetable: “I am making known the will of His sovereign at (insert place/position)” @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #AmbassadorNotes
Tweetable: “Not one person has sinned so greatly that they cannot be redeemed by the work on the cross” @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Chapter 8: Insights and Updates
Scripture Study: Proverbs 9:10. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- Share your thoughts about God’s instruction on consulting mediums or using other occult methods for trying to obtain “inside Information”.
- Tell about a time when you did something extreme in order to satisfy your curiosity.
- Do you have a prayer request where you are beginning to see the evidence of your faith? If so, share what you are seeing.
- How did the biblical accounts Gina used in this chapter help you see that God’s answers are not always immediate or evident?
- Does anyone have a dream from God that they believe has died or is at the “brink of death”?
- Share with the group how you have been able to pray for someone because you had special insight into the person’s background.
Study 1 Kings 18 account of the story Gina told in chapter 8 of Obadiah continually going back to look for rain, and evaluate the various ways we ascertain the evidence of our faith:
- Private conversations from the individual.
- Second hand information (including when we are recipient of unexpected gossip)
- Public formats (newspaper, social media)
- Observation of the particular persons actions and/or behavior
- Discernment by the Holy Spirit.
- What are some other ways?
Tweetable: I can see God’s hand moving in my prayer life @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #EvidenceofMyFaith
Tweetable: The Lord orchestrates our lives like a grand symphony @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Chapter 9: Ears to Hear
Scripture Study: Psalm 32:8-9. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- Who has an experience to share of when you unequivocally knew that God had spoken to you about something?
- Who do you admire for their well-developed “ears to hear”? What have you learned from them?
- Has God led you to reach out to someone as Gina did to Joy with a card and scripture? What happened?
- Do you have any question marks with your entries in this department because you are still trying to figure out if it is indeed God speaking to you? Do you mind sharing them and why you feel they are questionable?
- When has God brought something back around to you two or more times, causing you to wonder if it was God speaking to lead you?
- Note that God can speak to you anytime, and is not relegated to a specific time of formal prayer. With that being said, when and where do you feel God speaks to you the most? (In the shower? During your commute? Other?)
Have your group draw the chart box below and follow the instructions. Just like an audiologist might give you an audiogram to gauge how well you hear frequencies and pitches that determine your overall hearing range, chart your range for “ears to hear”. Normal hearing range is 0 to 20 decibels, which is Good. The higher the decibels in the left column the less you can hear.
Draw a dot in the square that best describes your ability to hear God with 20 being normal range and 60 being spiritually deaf in that area. Once you have placed your dots, connect them in order to get your spiritual ear audiogram.
- How well do you hear God when He is leading you to do something?
- How well do you hear God when making personal decisions?
- How well do you hear God when dealing with others?
- How well do you hear God when He convicts you of sin?
- How well do you hear God when discerning truth in a situation?
Based upon your data, in what area do you need better “ears to hear”?
Tweetable: I most often hear God speaking to me when I am [insert when] @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook #EarstoHear
Tweetable: Keeping a record of my prayers and God’s answers grows my faith @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Chapter 10: Faith and Follow-through
Scripture Study: II Thessalonians 1:11. Review several translations and reference resources, then discuss findings.
- Describe how you felt after you ignored God’s prompting and later realized the gravity of the consequences?
- Have you ever made a deviation from God’s plan? What issues developed due to that deviation?
- What has settling for less than God’s best plans cost you?
- Are you being discouraged right now from following through on something God has led you to do? Can you make a public commitment to your group that you will persevere?
- Has God ever led you to follow through with something that sounded downright bizarre?
- What is something God has stretched you to do that required radical obedience?
Utilizing Gina’s Rule of Thumb from Ecclesiastes 8:5, succinctly list what God has asked you to do under the words, ”God’s Prompting.” Next, write down the details of what you know to do in order to execute it under “Proper Procdedure”. Once you have all of the “Proper Procedure” you can then write in the date, event or season that marks the “Proper Time”. This is when you know you are ready and prepared to execute what God has given you to do.
God’s Prompting + Proper Procedure = God’s Timing
____________________ ___________________ ___________________
____________________ __________________ ___________________
____________________ __________________ ___________________
____________________ __________________ ___________________
Tweetable: I am improving upon my faith & follow-through @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Tweetable: God asks of me far less than I ask of Him @TheGinaDuke #OrganizingYourPrayerClosetBook
Here is a link to my Word document. I wanted to post the whole guide in case you could not open this link. Once I get it into a PDF file, I will re-post it.
Tomorrow, I will be sharing more from my experiences in prayer journaling.
I am participating in The Nester’s 31 Days of Writing. You can go here to keep up with my 31 day feature on structured prayer journaling.
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Award-winning author Gina Duke is a wife, mom and the Director of Women’s Ministry at her local church. With a B.S. in Organizational Leadership, she is able to bring a clear word for authentic Christian living. Through her book, “Organizing Your Prayer Closet: A New and Life-Changing Way to Pray” (Abingdon Press), she imparts 1 Peter 4:7 with the gift of structured prayer journaling. You may also follow her on Twitter and Instagram @TheGinaDuke.
Check out my video for Organizing Your Prayer Closet!