Hope for Exiles

Read Together: Isaiah 43:1–7

As followers of Jesus, there is a real sense in which we are “strangers and exiles” in this world (1 Pet 2:11). On Sunday, we looked at Jeremiah 31:2–22 where we saw God’s words of hope for Israel, and for us, as we live as pilgrims in this world. Isaiah 43 is another passage of hope written to exiles that we too can look to for hope for our present and our eternal future.

In Isaiah 43, the Lord declares to his people in exile, “Fear not!” God’s people in exile do not need to live in fear, and the foundation for this courage and fearlessness is rooted in who God is and what God promises to do. The Lord describes himself in these verses as Israel’s Creator, God, and Savior. He is “the Holy One of Israel,” a title of both transcendence (the Holy One) and closeness (of Israel).    

As their holy Creator and Savior, he has redeemed them. He knows them through and through, and they are his. Even though they are in the wilderness and may pass through water and fire, he will be with them to guard them. The Lord declares that he is with his people and loves them, and so he will act on behalf of his people in delivering them from the nations.

As we live as “strangers and exiles” on this earth, these promises are ours in Christ Jesus. We don’t need to live in fear in this wilderness. The Lord is our Maker and Redeemer. He is forever present, and he loves us with an unfailing love. So, as those called by his Name, created by him, we can live for chief purpose he made us: his glory (43:7). Our posture as exiles, then, should be one of hopeful, active waiting for our Maker and Redeemer to gather his people and make all things new. 

Discussion Questions

  1. What does it mean that followers of Jesus are “strangers and exiles” in this world?
  2. According to Isaiah 43, why don’t God’s people need to live in fear?
  3. How does our identity as “strangers and exiles” affect how we live in this world?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read “Operation ‘No More Tears!’” in The Jesus Storybook Bible (pages 144–51). Talk with your kids about the situation of Isaiah and Jeremiah (Israel in exile) and how we too are “exiles”, waiting for Jesus to come and take us home. And in this situation, God shows us great love and kindness.
  • Alternatively, read Exodus 16:13–21 (the story of God providing manna to his people in the wilderness). Discuss the similarities between our situation and Israel’s, and about how God provides for us as we live as “exiles” on this earth.

Memorization: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine.” (Isa 43:1)

Song: Listen to “Almost Home” (Matt Papa & Matt Boswell). Kids might enjoy “Fear Not” by Ellie Holcomb.

Pray Together

  • Praise God that that he is the Holy One who made all things and who will make all things new.
  • Confess before God that we are broken, sinful people living in a broken sinful world. We struggle with doubts and fears that are rooted in unbelief.  
  • Give thanks to God that he meets us in this wilderness and gives us renewed faith, hope, love, and courage.
  • Pray that God would give us a deep faith and courage each day as we face this “short, uncertain earthly life and pilgrimage” (Martyn Lloyd-Jones).

Go Together

  • Write out or print Isaiah 43:1 and put it in a prominent place in your home. This week, take time to remember that we can live in courage, without fear, even in the wilderness of this life because God is with us, he loves us, and he has given us great hope for our eternal future in Jesus.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!


Ministry and Growth

Read Together: 1 Corinthians 3:1–9

Ministry comes with certain challenges, as Pastor Jerry reminded us on Sunday. It challenges our pride and self-sufficiency as it requires us to recognize that ministry is not about us and that the results are ultimately not ours to manipulate, but God’s to produce. Amid church conflict, the apostle Paul had to remind the Corinthians of these truths in 1 Corinthians 3.

The Corinthian church was struggling with internal divisions that centered around different kinds of leadership and teaching styles. Some claimed to follow Paul while others looked to Apollos as their favorite leader and teacher. Paul had founded the church. Apollos had pastored it for a time. Now the church was divided into groups based on their preferred personality.

But Paul sets them straight: ministry is not about personality cults. Leaders in the church are servants. Gospel ministry is bigger than Paul or Apollos. It’s about Jesus and serving him. It’s not about the leaders themselves because it is God who gives the growth. Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

Ministry is like farming or gardening. A gardener can plant seeds and water them, but he cannot make the plant itself grow. God, the Creator, is responsible for the growth of plants. In the same way, preachers, missionaries, and Bible study leaders can proclaim the gospel and speak truth, but God alone can cause the gospel seed to sprout and grow and bear fruit. Ministry is not about any one personality or preacher because none of us can manipulate real growth. We faithfully tend “God’s field,” and we leave the results in the hands of God.

Discussion Questions

  1. Why is it wrong to make ministry about one certain leader and their personality?
  2. What is the picture Paul uses to describe ministry and what does it teach us about ministry?
  3. How does the truth that “God gives the growth” motivate us to do ministry?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read Mark 4:26–29 with your children. This is a short parable about the growth of the kingdom of God. God’s kingdom grows through God’s power.
  • Use this parable as a starting point to talk about the picture of a garden or field. Consider having young kids draw a picture or color a picture of a garden or field. Talk about how serving God can be like tending a garden. When we tell other people about Jesus, we can’t make that person grow to know Jesus. But God can. We should focus on planting and watering and entrust the growth to God. Just like God makes plants grow, he makes people grow to know and follow him.

Memorization: “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.” (1 Cor 3:6)

Song: Listen to “Press On” (Keith & Kristyn Getty). “Now let the Word be scattered like the seed on the soil/ Day by day/ Watch it grow in His care.” Encouragement to press on in faithfulness to the Lord as we live for him and share his truth with others.

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he is the One who gives growth in our lives and in the lives of those we minister to.
  • Confess before God that we tend to make too much of ourselves or certain leaders and try to manipulate results instead of entrusting them to God.
  • Give thanks to God that his Word always accomplishes the purpose he has for it—it never returns to him void (Isaiah 55:10–11).
  • Pray that God would grow us and help us to trust him to give growth to those we serve and speak the truth to.

Go Together

  • Think about what ministries you are involved in. Write these down. This can include your ministry as a parent to disciple your children, church ministries, and your witness to family, neighbors, coworkers, classmates, etc. Entrust these to the Lord and pray that you would be faithful in them and that God would give growth to those you minister to.
  • Ask yourselves: Are there any other ministry opportunities that God is calling us to participate in as a family or individuals? Who can we minister to this week and share love and truth with?
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!


Jars of Clay

Read Together: 2 Corinthians 4

On Sunday, we began to look at the calling of the twelve disciples and Jesus’ first mission for them. Pastor Jerry drew our attention to the fact that these disciples were twelve ordinary, common men. They were unproven, untrained, and unremarkable. Yet, Jesus chose them as his first messengers to proclaim the kingdom.

In 2 Corinthians 4:7, Paul makes a similar point about his own ministry. He is a just a clay jar that contains the treasure of the gospel. He is just a weak, unremarkable, ordinary human being who has been gripped by knowing God’s glory revealed in the good news about Jesus. And God’s purpose in using clay jars like Paul is to show that the awesome power of the gospel comes from God alone.

Like Paul, we are weak vessels of the glorious news of Jesus’ victory over sin and death. As we carry out our mission, we must remember that the power is in the message, not the messenger. God uses ordinary, unremarkable people like us to showcase his power in the face of worldly pride.

So, we shouldn’t put our trust in our ability to make the gospel attractive. We shouldn’t lose heart when the world rejects us. We are simply clay jars, ordinary and fragile. But the gospel is a treasure worth more than anything in the world. So, while our outer self wastes away, our inner self is renewed each day in the hope of glory that we have tasted and seen in the gospel.

Discussion Questions

  1. What does Paul mean by describing himself and his ministry partners as “jars of clay”?
  2. What is the “treasure” that Paul says is in these clay jars?
  3. Why does God use ordinary, broken people like us to share his message? How does this give us courage and hope as we carry out the mission Jesus has given us?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read “The Fight of Gideon and the Flight of Midian” in The Biggest Story Bible Storybook (pages 124–27). Discuss with your children how God uses Gideon, an unlikely leader, to lead a puny army to rescue God’s people from their enemies. This story reveals how God often works: he chooses the weak to shame the strong and to show that it is only his power that wins the victory.

Memorization: “But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.” (2 Corinthians 4:7)

Song: Listen to “All Glory Be to Christ” (Redeemer Worship). We are jars of clay filled with the great treasure of knowing God—all glory be to Christ!

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he is the almighty Lord of all!
  • Confess before God that we are weak, frail, sinful, and broken. We often put too much confidence in ourselves and not the power of God and his Word. Or we view our weakness as a hindrance to God’s power and not the channel.
  • Give thanks to God that he uses jars of clay like us to make known the glorious news about Jesus.
  • Pray that God would give us courage and confidence to share his truth despite our weaknesses.

Go Together

  • Near the end of his sermon, Pastor Jerry asked us: Have you given up sharing the gospel? Ask yourselves that question and consider why we sometimes neglect to share the good news with those around us. Commit together to start a gospel conversation with someone this week, relying not on your own cleverness or ability but the power of God manifested even through your weakness.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!


Servants and Stewards

Read Together: Matthew 25:14–30

On Sunday, Bryan challenged us to live with joyful generosity as those who live in light of eternity. When we stand before God one day, he will ask us, “What did you do with what I gave you?” Jesus himself illustrated this reality with a parable in Matthew 25:14–30.

In this story, a man gives his servants differing amounts of talents (i.e., money) to manage while he is away on a journey. Two servants use this wealth to create more wealth, while another simply buries his money in the ground. The first two servants are praised and rewarded, but the third servant is condemned by his lazy failure to use what he had been given for the sake of his master.

The main point of this parable has to do with how Christ’s disciples are to live while they await his second coming. The talents in the parable represent the different opportunities, responsibilities, vocations, and even the wealth God has given each of us. We are not to live in lazy self-service or fear of failure but boldly use what God has given us for his glory and the good of others.

All that we have comes from God—all our opportunities, responsibilities, wealth, time, and giftings. How are you using these things? Do you spend most of your energy just trying not to mess up with what you have? Or are you using these things faithfully for God? As pastor and author Greg Gilbert put it in a message on this parable (which is well worth listening to): “Being a Christian isn’t just a matter of avoiding doing something wrong. It’s a matter of burning up our lives in service to our King.”

Discussion Questions

  1. What is the main point of this parable?
  2. What are some of the opportunities and responsibilities God has given you? How are you currently using these?
  3. What are some ways you can use your God-given opportunities, responsibilities, wealth, time, and giftings in bold service to King Jesus?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read this parable together with your children. Consider summarizing or re-telling portions of it if needed. Emphasize how all that we have is a gift from God that he has given us to honor him and love others. Ask your children about what God has given them and talk about how we might use these things for the service of our King.

Memorization: “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’” (Matthew 25:21)

Song: Listen to “My Jesus, I Love Thee” (TGC Live, feat. Shane & Shane, Davy Flowers). Genuine service to King Jesus flows from a deep love for Jesus!

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he is Lord and King over all and he has given us so many good things.
  • Confess before God that we often use what he has given us with selfishness and fear.
  • Give thanks to God that through Jesus we are forgiven and given new hearts that begin to long to love and serve our King more.
  • Pray that God would help us use all that he has given us to serve him and love others.

Go Together

  • Return to Question #3 above and choose one practical way to use what God has given you as a family or individuals to serve him this week.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!


Decisions & Godly Counsel

Read Together: Numbers 13:25–14:10

This Sunday, Pastor Jerry reminded us that knowing God’s will can be a group effort. Knowing God’s will is not something we simply lock ourselves in the dark to discover alone. There is no Bible verse that backs the common cultural assumption that our decisions are exclusively personal. In fact, whether we realize it or not, all of our decisions are influenced to a degree by other people.

We see several examples in Scripture of people on the brink of a decision receiving different kinds of counsel. In Numbers 13–14, Israel is on the verge of entering the Promised Land. They hear the report of the twelve spies and receive two different kinds of counsel. On one side, ten of the spies offer counsel rooted in unbelief. On the other, Caleb and Joshua offer counsel rooted in deep faith in God’s promises. The people hear both, and they decide to act in unbelief and rebellion against the Lord.

We all have voices in our lives who influence our decisions. Media and social media speak into our lives constantly and shape our decisions in ways we often don’t even realize. Family and friends offer advice. Coworkers and neighbors share their two cents. The question is: Who are we listening to?

Making decisions should be a group effort in the sense that we seek the wise, godly counsel of God’s people and commit to be shaped by God’s Word in the context of the community of the church. We need each other. We need to commit to hear the counsel of those who speak out of deep trust in God’s truth and God’s promises.  

Discussion Questions

  1. How can knowing God’s will be a group effort?
  2. What was the counsel of Caleb and Joshua rooted in (see Num 14:7–9)? What does this teach us about where we should be seeking advice and counsel?
  3. What are some of the voices that influence our decisions? How can we be more intentional about the voices shaping our decision-making?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read “Big People, Little Faith” in The Biggest Story Bible Storybook (pages 104–07). Discuss with your children the importance of seeking advice from faithful followers of Jesus who trust God’s Word.

Memorization: “Whoever walks with the wise becomes wise, but the companion of fools will suffer harm.” (Proverbs 13:20)

Song: Listen to “Savior, Like a Shepherd Lead Us” (Hymns of Grace). This hymn reflects what our heart should be as we seek God’s will together: that Jesus would lead us and help us to do his will.

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he is all-wise and leads and directs his people.
  • Confess before God that our decisions are sometimes shaped more by unbelief and the fear of man than by faith and the fear of God.
  • Give thanks to God for his church and godly people in our lives who help us make decisions out of faith and not fear.
  • Pray that God would help us to be shaped by the godly community of his people as we make decisions.

Go Together

  • Take stock of the voices speaking into your life that may be shaping your decision-making by shaping what you value, what you trust, what you fear, and so on. Write some of these things down and discuss them together.
  • If you are in the process of making a decision about something in your life, consider bringing it this week before another believer you trust and who is grounded in their faith and seeking their counsel.
  • Make the simple commitment or recommitment to make gathering with God’s people a major priority in your life and in your weekly rhythms.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!


God’s Character & God’s Will

Read Together: Jonah 1

As we saw on Sunday morning, knowing God’s will for our lives involves obedience to God’s Word and delight in God’s character. Sometimes, however, there is a gap between what we know and what we actually desire to do. Jonah’s story provides a prime example of someone who knew God’s will, and yet went the other direction.

God tells Jonah: Go to Nineveh and preach against it. But Jonah runs in the other direction away from God’s will. Why? Jonah tells God in Jonah 4:2. He ran because he wasn’t happy about God’s character. He knew who God had revealed himself to be: a God of compassion and mercy (Exod 34:6). And he didn’t want that for the Ninevites, the enemy of his people. Jonah didn’t delight himself in the Lord, and so his desires ran contrary to the Lord’s will.

The story of Jonah should drive us to ask ourselves some important questions. Are we looking to obey only the aspects of God’s will we are comfortable with? Are we really delighting in all of who God is or just the parts of his character that we like or that benefit us? We will be better equipped to make godly decisions if we are people who delight in God through Jesus and commit to obey his Word even when it is uncomfortable.

Discussion Questions

  1. Read Jonah 4:2. Why did Jonah try to run away from God and his will?
  2. How are God’s character (who he is) and God’s will connected?
  3. What are some aspects of God’s character we might be uncomfortable with? How might this tempt us to disobey God’s Word?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read “Big Fish, Bigger Mercy” in The Biggest Story Bible Storybook (pages 264–69). Discuss Jonah’s disobedience and the reason behind it. Emphasize that we obey God most fully when we love who he is.  

Memorization: “The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,” (Exodus 34:6).

Song: Listen to “Only a Holy God” (CityAlight). This song reminds us of God’s character as the holy God and its implications for us. Do we delight in God’s holiness?   

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he is the holy God of mercy and unfailing love!
  • Confess before God that we are often selective in our delight in him and in our obedience to his will.
  • Give thanks to God for his Son, Jesus, the prophet greater than Jonah who obeyed the Father’s will perfectly and was in the belly of the earth for three days for our salvation.
  • Pray that God would open our eyes to the beauty of who he is, that we would delight in him and obey his Word.

Go Together

  • Write down three attributes of God. For each attribute, write down a corresponding point of what this means for our relationship with God and what it means for his will for our lives. For example, God is love, and this means that he loves us and we are called to love others.
  • Return to Question #3 above and consider if there are any related aspects of God’s character and will you just discussed that make you a little uncomfortable and even cause you to disobey God’s will. Be honest with each other: are their aspects of God’s character and his commands that you don’t really like? How can you grow to delight in all of who God is? Discuss one practical thing you can do this week to grow in your delight in God.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!


Waiting on the Lord

Read Together: Psalm 130   

We wait for a lot of things in life. As children, we wait eagerly for Christmas morning. We wait for that special package to be delivered. We wait for that big day marked on our calendar. Waiting is part of life, even in our time where so much is instantaneous. More than that, as we considered on Sunday, waiting is an important posture of the Christian life.

In the psalms, we see David and other psalmists express their faith in the Lord through a posture of waiting. We see this in Psalm 130 where the psalmist repeats this idea of waiting for the Lord, closely connected to the idea of hoping in the Lord and his Word. In the context of this psalm, waiting for the Lord has to do with hoping in his forgiveness and salvation as we are confronted with our sin.

The Christian life requires patience and waiting. We are those who wait and rely on the Lord. With him there is forgiveness (v. 4), steadfast love, and full redemption (v. 7). In turning away from sin to God, we become those who wait for Jesus to come again and bring final deliverance, complete redemption (1 Thess 1:9–10). This is our blessed hope, the chief thing we wait for (Titus 2:13; cf. 1 Cor 1:7).

Discussion Questions

  1. What (or who) is the psalmist waiting for?
  2. Why is waiting an important posture of the Christian life?
  3. What are some ways we can actively demonstrate that we are waiting on the Lord?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read Luke 2:22–38 with your children (consider summarizing parts of the story for young children if needed). Draw their attention to two characters who were waiting for something: Simeon and Anna. Both of them, get to meet the infant Jesus and see him as what they were waiting for. We too are waiting for something big. Jesus is going to come again and undo all the bad things in the world.

Memorization: “I wait for the LORD, my soul waits, and in his word I hope.” (Psalm 130:5)

Song: Listen to “I Will Wait For You (Psalm 130)” (Shane & Shane).

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he is the promise-keeping God! Our waiting is not in vain.
  • Confess before God that we are impatient sinners. If God kept a record of sins, we could not stand.
  • Give thanks to God that with him there is unfailing love and full redemption.
  • Pray that God would help us and direct us as we wait for our blessed hope.

Go Together

  • Waiting on God is not a passive posture. It is a waiting that arises out of confidence and faith in the Lord and his promises. It leads to a life lived in obedience to God, not a life of indecision. Discuss as a family one practical way you can express this posture of waiting this week. For example, those who are waiting for something often talk about what they are waiting for. As believers, we should talk often together and with unbelievers about what we are waiting for. So, one practical way we wait is spreading the message of the hope for which we wait.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!


Doing God’s Will

Read Together: 1 Peter 4:1–2; 1 John 2:15–17  

We often want to know God’s will for our life. Yet, as Pastor Jerry reminded us this week, God’s general will for us is already written out. It can be known in the pages of Scripture. Throughout the Bible, we are called to be those who “do God’s will.” We often spend a lot of energy trying to find the divinely sanctioned answer to a certain (usually non-moral) decision when our focus would be better directed at doing what God has already clearly told us he wants from us.

As we see in passages like 1 Peter 4:1–2 and 1 John 2:15–17, doing God’s will means obeying his Word. Living for God’s will is the opposite of living for human passions. It’s the opposite of loving worldly things (i.e., sinful desires, pride in possessions, etc.). Doing God’s will is obedience to how God calls us to live.

This means that doing the will of God will sometimes run counter to our feelings. Doing God’s will will sometimes lead to suffering (1 Pet 4:1). We shouldn’t use the concept of God’s will to justify living for human passions and or always choosing the easiest option. Doing God’s will, obeying his Word, may involve hardship and risk. But as John tells us: “whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:17)—because at the heart of doing God’s will is an abiding faith in Jesus, the one who is the source of all our life.

Discussion Questions

  1. What does it mean to “do God’s will”?
  2. What is the opposite of doing God’s will?
  3. How can we grow in our knowledge of God’s general will?

Ideas for Younger Kids

  • Read “The Way to Stay Free” in The Biggest Story Bible Storybook (pages 92–95). This is the story of God giving Israel the 10 Commandments. Discuss with your children how God tells us the best way to live, and how it’s about following his will, not always what we want.

Memorization: “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.” (1 John 2:17)

Song: Listen to “Take My Life and Let It Be” (Norton Hall Band). This is a powerful hymn about committing to submit to God’s will: “Take my will and make it thine/it shall be no longer mine.”

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he is good and always delights in what is good and right.
  • Confess before God that we often follow our own feelings and desires and not his will.
  • Give thanks to God that he has made known to us his will and has given us access to his Word.
  • Pray that God would help us to do his will each day, starting with abiding in Jesus moment by moment.

Go Together

  • Think together about a recent (or current) decision you as a family or an individual have faced. Discuss how God’s general will might inform that decision and help you discern which option is best. Next time you face a decision, start by thinking in terms of God’s revealed will. Ask yourself and discuss with others: what option will best enable me to faithfully obey God’s Word? This should shift your decision making away from simply going with your feelings and toward faithful obedience instead.
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment


Jesus’ Priestly Prayer

Read Together: John 17:20–26

Essential to learning to pray is learning to intercede for one another. As Pastor Jerry reminded us on Sunday, all believers are called to a ministry of intercession—lifting up each other in prayer. Intercession is coming before God on behalf of someone else and asking God to meet their needs. Jesus himself gives us a prime example of intercession in his high priestly prayer recorded in John 17.

Notice three key elements of Jesus’ intercessory prayer. First, the foundation of Jesus’ prayer is a concern for the glory of God (17:1). Second, the heart of Jesus’ prayer for the church is that they would share a deep unity, rooted in their faith in Jesus (17:11, 21–23). Third, part of the purpose of this prayer is that the world might believe in Jesus through the unified witness of the church.

Jesus’ intercessory prayer is an example of the kind of central requests that should fill our own prayers for each other. However, Jesus’ prayer is so much more than an example to us. First and foremost, it is a prayer for us. Jesus is the great high priest of God’s people who even now continues to intercede for his church (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25).

When it comes to prayer, we all feel that we often come up short. Our prayers may drift into shallow selfishness. Busyness may drive us away from prayer instead of to prayer. Prosperity may produce prayerlessness. But may this feeling of inadequacy in prayer continually drive us back to Christ. He lived the perfect life that we fail to live. His death brings forgiveness for our failure to pray. And in his resurrection and ascension, he continues to intercede for you.  

Discussion Questions

  1. What is intercession and why is it an important element of prayer?
  2. What do we learn about intercessory prayer from Jesus’ prayer in John 17?
  3. How should the truth that Jesus continues to intercede for believers encourage us today?

Ideas for Younger Kids

·      Read John 17:20–26 with your children. Talk about how this passage of Scripture is a prayer that Jesus prayed for us. Jesus prays for believers. This is part of his ministry as our High Priest. Priests in the Old Testament were those who stood in between God and the rest of the people and offered sacrifices to God. Jesus is the better Priest who offered his life as a sacrifice for us and continues to pray for his people. He stands between God and us so that we might know God and be made right with God. And even now Jesus prays for us.

·      Consider learning the following catechism question with your children about Jesus as our High Priest. (This is Question 59 from A Catechism for Boys and Girls).

o   Q. Why is Christ a priest?

o   A. Because He died for our sins and prays to God for us.

Memorization: “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

Song: Listen to “Before the Throne of God Above” (Sovereign Grace Music, feat. Kristyn Getty).

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he sent his Son to be our great High Priest.
  • Confess before God that our prayers often drift into shallow selfishness.
  • Give thanks to God that Jesus always lives to make intercession for his people (Heb 7:25) and that he shows us a better way to pray.
  • Pray that God would help us grow in the ministry of intercession, that we would daily lift up the needs of others for the glory of God, the unity of the church, and the reaching of the lost.

Go Together

  • Commit together to the ministry of interceding for others. Make it a daily discipline to pray for others. Take advantage of opportunities like our church’s prayer line ministry, prayer team ministry, and our weekly prayer gathering and resources like our missions prayer journal, www.blesseveryhome.com, and www.operationworld.org. 
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!


Godly Grief & Prayer

Read Together: Psalm 51

As Pastor Jerry observed in his sermon on Sunday, guilt can become a hindrance to prayer. It can make us feel like God doesn’t want to hear from us, and so we avoid God. Yet, there is a better response to our guilt. Our sense of guilt should lead to a godly sorrow for our sin, which should lead to more prayer, not less. True godly grief over sin leads to true confession and repentance, not just a feeling of remorse about our sin.1

David’s prayer in Psalm 51 is a classic prayer of confession that gives us a model of godly repentance. The background of this psalm is David’s heinous sins against Bathsheba and Uriah. Through the prophet Nathan, David has been awakened to repentance, and Psalm 51 provides a window into David’s confession before the Lord.

We learn several important lessons from this prayer. First, we learn that all sin is fundamentally committed against God (v. 4). Sin hinders our relationship with God, and all sin is rebellion against him. Second, we learn that our appeal for mercy should be based in God’s steadfast love and abundant mercy (vv.1–2). David does not appeal to his own works or future actions. He casts himself upon the gracious character of God.

Third, true repentance desires a restored relationship with God more than just the feeling of guilt to go away. David longs for the transformation of his heart as well as forgiveness (vv. 9–12). Guilt should not keep us from prayer. It should drive us to prayer! It should lead us to confess our sins as we trust that our God forgives sinners through the work of Jesus on the cross (see also 1 John 1:9–2:2).

Discussion Questions

  1. How is this psalm an example of godly sorrow over sin?
  2. What are some of the key lessons this psalm teaches us about repentance of sin?
  3. Why should guilt drive us to prayer instead of causing us to avoid prayer?

Ideas for Younger Kids

·      Read “David Sins . . . and Repents” in The Biggest Story Bible Storybook (pages 152–55). Talk about how David looked to God for forgiveness of his sin. David sinned horribly, but his guilt led him to God to ask for God’s mercy. We, like David, are sinners, and when we sin, we must go to God and ask him to forgive us. And we can know that God will forgive us because that’s who God is and that’s why Jesus died.

·      Consider learning the following catechism question with your children about repentance and discuss what repentance means. (This is Question 50 from A Catechism for Boys and Girls).

o   Q. What is it to repent?

o   A. To be sorry for sin and to hate and forsake it, because it is displeasing to God.

Memorization: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” (Psalm 51:10)

Song: Listen to “Psalm 51 (Wisdom in the Secret Heart)” (Shane and Shane).

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he is the God of unfailing love and abundant mercy.
  • Confess before God that we have sinned against him and that our guilt has often led us to avoid prayer.
  • Give thanks to God that through Jesus he is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us!
  • Pray that God would help us to have godly sorrow over sin that drives us to prayer instead of causing us to avoid prayer. Pray that God would help us grasp that Christ’s work is enough.

Go Together

  • Spend a few moments together in a quiet space and examine yourselves personally and confess your sins before the Lord. If it is appropriate, confess your sins to one another as well. This can be part of a godly sorrow over sin that allows others to pray for you as you seek forgiveness before the Lord (see James 5:16 as a biblical precedent for this).


1Colin G. Kruse, 2 Corinthians: An Introduction and Commentary, TNTC Vol. 8, p. 142.

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