“As soon as Peter and John were set free, they returned to their group and told them what the chief priests and the elders had said. When the believers heard it, they all joined together in prayer to God….” Acts 4:23-24 (TEV)
The Apostles demonstrated the value of a life group when they found themselves in hot water, threatened by the very same High Council that brought the charges against Jesus. Luke records what they did. After being warned by the Sanhedrin to no longer speak to anyone about Jesus, they returned to their group and told them what the chief priests and the elders had said. I love that! Peter and John knew where they could find support and encouragement. Do you have such a group around you? These are two more benefits of a life group:
3. Prayer will become more meaningful to you.
Many people are hesitant to pray in front of others, especially in a large church. In a life group of five to ten people, you will learn to participate in prayer by having a conversation together with God. No one is pressured to pray, but as you become comfortable, you’ll be able to pray sentence prayers and join in. There are many promises in the Bible related to group prayer. In praying together with a few others, we are drawn together and we find answers to the needs in our lives. When Peter and John connected with their group, the Bible says when the other believers in the group heard what happened, they all joined together in prayer to God. The Bible records their prayer in Acts 4:24-30 and then it says,
“After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.” Acts 4:31 (NIV)
Their prayer led to another benefit you’ll experience in a life group.
4. You will be able to handle stress and pressure better.
Peter and John and all the other Christ followers were experiencing their first wave of conflict and resistance in sharing Jesus with others. The pressure of the religious leaders could have been enough to silence them, but they found comfort, strength and encouragement in their community of faith.
Life groups provide excellent support in times of crisis, change, and stress. You’ll have a sense of stability and security, knowing there are people who really care for you and are committed to standing with you. When someone loses a job, or a family member has an extended illness, or a mother needs a babysitter – these are practical needs that will be naturally taken care of through your life group. Many people in our church could testify that they would not have made it through a difficult time if it hadn’t been for the support of their group. In addition, we have a number of special support groups that deal with problems like alcoholism, financial difficulty, abuse, and other needs.
We’ll look at two more benefits you will experience from a life group tomorrow.