Reflection & Discussion Questions
Bible reading: Ruth 1:1-22

  • What stands out to you when it comes to the story of Naomi?
  • Reflecting from verses 1-6 on what Naomi’s story shows us about the nature of life in this world, how have pain and suffering been a part of your story in different ways?

  • Reflecting from verses 19-21 on what Naomi’s story shows us about the nature of lament, have there been times when life or God and His ways have made no sense to you?

  • Reflecting on what Naomi’s story shows us about the nature of God, in what ways
    • has God been your provider when you have needed it? (verses 6,22)
    • do you need to acknowledge God as sovereign, working for good even out of pain? (verses 20-21, Ruth 4:13-17, Romans 8:28)
    • do you need to remember that pain and sorrow is not the final word for the people of God? (Psalm 147:3, Rev 21:1-5)
    • are you needing to be reassured that God enters into our pain? (Isaiah 53:3-6)
      Reflection & Discussion Questions
      Bible reading: John 11:1-44

      •  How do you imagine the different people in these passages might have been feeling? 
        • Which one(s) do you identify with? Why?

      • What do you think motivated Jesus’ actions in these passages?

      • We read in Isaiah 55:8-0 “”For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the Earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.””
        • How might this passage relate to Jesus’ actions here in John 11?

      • Can you think of a time in your life where you’ve felt as though God has let you down?

      • Paul writes in Romans 8:28 that “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him.” How do you see this relating to your experience above?

      • Reflect on Revelation 21:1-5 and consider the hope we have through Christ.
      Reflection & Discussion Questions
      Bible reading: Luke 15:11-32
      • What stands out to you when it comes to this parable?
      • This parable is not just about the younger son, it’s about the older son too, and it is also about the father. What perspective have you most often viewed this parable from, and why do you think that is?
      • Reflecting from verses 11-12 on how the father would have lamented the choices made by his son, what choices made by people significant to you have brought you grief?
      • Reflecting from verses 12b-13 and 20a on how the father lamented the chasm that those choices caused, in what ways might there be some sense of distance with someone significant to you arising out of choices they have made relationally, practically, or when it comes to issues of faith, life or worldviews?
      • Reflecting from verses 20-24, and 26 on how the father looked for any opportunity to communicate love and grace, in what ways can you also look for opportunities to show love and grace?
      • Take some time to bring before God someone who might be a prodigal in some way in your life – as a parent, a family member, a friend, a spouse, or someone else you know – to commit them afresh to God in prayer, knowing that the cries of your heart for them are also the cries of his heart for them as He too cares for them.
      Reflection & Discussion Questions
      Bible reading: Nehemiah 1:1-11
      • What ‘changed landscape’ when it comes to the circumstances of your life in the past or present has been hardest for you?
      • Reflecting from verses 1-4 on how Nehemiah lamented what was ‘in ruins’ in Jerusalem, what aspects of the brokenness of life in our wider world or closer to home, our more immediate world, unsettles, or brings a sense of vulnerability to you?
      • Reflecting from verse 4b onwards on how Nehemiah releases the things he laments over to God in prayer, why is it so important that we cast our cares and despairs upon God in prayer? (refer also to 1 Peter 5:6-7)
      • Reflecting on verses 5-6a and 8-10 on how Nehemiah remembers God and His bigger picture as he laments the present, what is it about God – who he is, what He is like, what He has done in the past, what He has promised – that you need to ‘bring to mind’ when lamenting the present (refer also to Lamentations 3:19-24)
      • Take a few moments in reflective and/or shared prayer to
        • recognise what is ‘in ruins’ that you might lament
        • release these things to God
        • remember God’s bigger picture
        Reflection & Discussion Questions
        Bible reading: Psalm 56:1-13

        • What stands out about the place of lament to you?
        • How familiar is the place of lament to you? To what extend has it been or is it a part of your prayer and worship life?
        • The place of lament is often formative in our faith journey. Has that been true for you, and if so, when and how?
        • Reflecting on verses 3-4, and 9-13, how does anchoring in God – His character, His word, and his promises – bring hope even through lament?
        • Reflecting on verse 8, how does this verse remind you and reassure of God’s care?
        • Take a few moments to come before God in prayer with whatever you may have to lament, just as the psalm writer does in Psalm 56. You may wish to express this in words, verbal or written, or simply as cries of the heart.