READ: Mark 9:33-41
MAINTAIN RESPECT: Jesus showed respect for his disciples in that He waited until they were out of other people's hearing before he posed a challenging question (v33). Let's praise the Lord for the gracious way in which He deals with us and then pray that we will always show the same sensitivity when dealing with others.
PROBE GENTLY: There are many ways in which to frame a question. Jesus manages to be both tactful and direct (v33). Let's pray for the necessary wisdom when we are having to raise difficult issues.
HANDLE SILENCE SENSITIVELY: In a group situation silence can cause an awkwardness that is hard to deal with. Jesus was not intimidated by silence (v34). Let's pray for a confidence that allows other people all the space they may require.
PROVIDE AN APPROPRIATE ENVIRONMENT: It is amazing how much difference a simple thing like seating arrangements can make. Jesus never had to "lord it" over people so He was happy to sit down in their midst (v35). Let's pray for a humble spirit and a willingness to put ourselves equally and openly in the midst of others.
USE ILLUSTRATIONS: It is important that we make sure that the things we say come across clearly. It is helpful to think clearly about the people we are talking to. Jesus used a child as an illustration but He certainly didn't "use" the child (v36). Let's pray for the ability to communicate effectively.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: When learning with others there is no guarantee that everything will stay on track. John raised a question that was on a completely different topic (v38). We need to be open to listen to people's concerns no matter how they are expressed. Let's share about those we know who need to be drawn out about their personal concerns and pray that we will be able to give them the opportunity to speak out freely.
CORRECT GRACIOUSLY: The way that Jesus dealt with John's question is a real lesson in wisdom and graciousness (vs 39-40). Let's pray that in every group situation we will be a blessing as we learn together.