Opening Prayer Led by Group Facilitator

Psalm 135

Pray the Psalm together aloud, alternating verses between two sides. When finished, share reflections on the Psalm as a group

1  Praise the Lord!  Praise the name of the Lord, give praise O servants of the Lord,

2  you that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God!

3  Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing to his name, for he is gracious!

4  For the Lord has chosen Jacob for himself, Israel as his own possession.

5  For I know that the Lord is great, and that our Lord is above all gods.

6  Whatever the Lord pleases he does, in heaven and on earth, in the seas and all deeps.

7  He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth, who makes lightnings for the rain and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

8  He it was who struck the first-born of Egypt, both of man and of beast;

9  who in your midst, O Egypt, sent signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants;

10  who struck many nations and slew mighty kings.

11  Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, King of Bashan, and all the kingdoms of Canaan.

12  and gave their land as a heritage, a heritage to his people Israel.

13  Your name, O Lord, endures for ever, your renown, O Lord, throughout all ages.

14  For the Lord will vindicate his people, and have compassion on his servants.

15  The idols of the nations are silver and gold, the work of men’s hands.

16  They have mouths, but they speak not, they have eyes, but they see not,

17  they have ears, but they hear not, nor is there any breath in their mouths.

18  Like them be those who make them! -- yes, every one who trusts in them!

19  O house of Israel, bless the Lord!  O house of Aaron, bless the Lord!

20  O house of Levi, bless the Lord!  You that fear the Lord, bless the Lord!

21  Blessed be the Lord from Zion, he who dwells in Jerusalem!  Praise the Lord!

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.

As it was in the beginning, is now and will be forever. Amen.

Jacob vs. The LORD

Genesis 32

1.       Compare what Jacob has when he left home to what he has now.  Compare what you had when you first left home to what you have now.

2.       Jacob alienated his brother Esau, and fled.  Now Jacob has alienated his uncle Laban, and fled.  What lessons are there for a Patriarch regarding “alienation” and “reconciliation” with family?  How has reconciliation been modeled to you by older family members?  How have you modeled reconciliation to your children?

3.      Read Jacob's prayer aloud together.  Is his prayer different from your own prayers?  How so?  How does Jacob supplement prayer with strategy?  How can you combine prayer and strategy in pursuing a goal?

4.       What is the purpose of Jacob’s messengers?  What is the purpose of Jacob’s gifts?  How do modern Patriarchs make use of messengers and gifts for similar purposes?

5.       What is Jacob’s experience at Peniel?  How does Jacob’s experience at Peniel correspond to Jacob’s past relationships?  How does this inform a Patriarch’s relationship with God?

6.       Jacob is renamed “Israel.”  What is the meaning of this name?  What are the positive and negative implications of this name?  How do the characteristics of Jacob reflect the characteristics of both the people of Israel and the "new Israel", the Christian people? 

7.       What is the significance of a name change?  What is the origin of pseudonyms or nicknames that have existed in your family?  When might it be appropriate for a modern Patriarch to give his children a "new name"? 

Prayer Partners

Discuss with your prayer partner the success/failure of your previous resolution & offer a vocal prayer for one another.