Life Group Discussion Guide

14 And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us. 15 And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests that we have asked of him.

16 If anyone sees his brother committing a sin not leading to death, he shall ask, and God will give him life—to those who commit sins that do not lead to death. There is sin that leads to death; I do not say that one should pray for that. 17 All wrongdoing is sin, but there is sin that does not lead to death.

1 John 5:14-17

The purpose of prayer is not for us to teach God something that he does not already know. One of the major goals of prayer is to align our hearts with His own. 

God’s goal is for his will to be our will. This is the way that Jesus taught us how to pray in the Sermon on the Mount.

Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name. 
10 Your kingdom come,
your will be done, 
    on earth as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread, 
12 and forgive us our debts,
    as we also have forgiven our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation,
    but deliver us from evil.” 

Matthew 6:9-13

This is an incredible promise that God makes to his children. When our purposes align with his purposes, then we will have the requests that we ask of God (1 John 5:15).

One specific way that we see this promise play out in the life of a believer is in the way we respond to sin. If we confess and repent of our own sin, He is faithful and just to forgive us from sin EVERY SINGLE TIME (1 John 1:9). In the same way, if we see a fellow believer in sin and we pray for them, we can rest assured that God WILL answer our prayer.

How can we have this assurance? Because we know that God’s purpose for every believer is to defeat sin. When we pray for the defeat of sin and the coming of God’s kingdom, we know that we are praying with the same will and heart of God himself.

In reference to the “sin that leads to death,” this is most likely talking about the difference between the sin of a believer and the sin of a non-believer.

John is not telling us that we should quit praying for enemies of God. John is teaching that there is a fundamental difference in the ability of a believer and nonbeliever to actually repent of sin and agree with the heart of God about it. 

John Piper gives a thorough explanation of the “sin that leads to death” on his podcast.

Discussion Questions

  • Have you ever given up on prayer?
  • Do you think that you were praying for the wrong things?
  • How do you think God would have wanted you to pray?
  • What is the last prayer that you have prayed with confidence that you and God were in agreement?
  • How did you know that you agreed with God?
  • What is sin leading to death?
  • How do you pray differently for believers than for non-believers?

Prayer Time

Engage in a time of prayer for one another. Make sure that every individual prayer request is prayed for by another individual in the group.

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Jonathan Pugh
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