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“The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.”
-The Usual Suspects

If you’ve never seen the Usual Suspects, it’s basically a movie about a giant scam. It ends with an incredible “reveal”, as you figure out that (spoiler alert) the real bad guy was the most unassuming character in the movie, behind everything from the very beginning. This quote, spoken at the very end as the entire montage of “how did he do it” unfolds, is so powerful because it shows just how ignorant and unaware the people around him were of what he was actually up to. And this is exactly how Satan loves to work. During Rooted, we devoted a whole week to talking about the Enemy, the fact that there are spiritual forces at work in our world and in our lives, and that we have power through Jesus to face anything that the enemy throws at us. But we often forget about this, and allow our times together to shift back into the routine: good coffee, good conversation, good curriculum. But there is so much more going on underneath the surface, with major issues that we refuse to address because we don’t think it’s a ‘big deal.’ One of the areas that we want to encourage our groups to grow in is to practice mutual confession.

This practice of mutual confession is so important in our groups, the places where we should be experiencing the best of the Christian life. James encourages us to “confess your sins to each other, and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” – James 5:16.

This week, we are encouraging our groups to engage in a time of confessing sin and identifying and breaking strongholds in each other’s lives. When we claim the power of the Cross over our lives, our chains are broken. We now have a choice to walk in freedom. But, we will need each other to do so. This is why life in community is so important!

Group Time

Read 1 Peter 5:8
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Question: How does this verse help us as we talk about strongholds and spiritual warfare? What sort of attitude have you had recently towards this topic?

Read James 5:16
“Confess your sins to each other, and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.”

Question: Why do you think confession is such an important topic in the church? How have you seen confession lead to wholeness – either in someone else’s life, or in your own?

* If you have a mixed group, now is the time to split your group into gender-specific groups, to allow space for more vulnerability.

All look at the Truth Tracking sheet: DOWNLOAD HERE

Where have you recently been tempted to hide and minimize? Are there any areas in particular where you feel that Satan has a foothold in your life?”

Help your group embrace the truth that contradicts the lie they have believed by encouraging them to read the scripture provided or read the scripture over that individual if you feel led.

Prayer Time

Move your group into a time of prayer where you, as the leader, are praying with each person or the individual is praying and you are praying with him/her in agreement to break these areas of strongholds in his/her life. Make sure you pray out loud with each person in your group. Be careful to not let other people step in and try and rescue someone as he/she is sharing a stronghold or minimize it and its damage in his/her life. Below is a sample prayer for an individual to pray. You can take this and switch out the pronouns to fit if you are praying for them. Encourage each individual to pray first, and then you can pray secondly.

Sample prayer: Jesus, I acknowledge where I have allowed _____ into my life. I feel _____, and want to confess my inadequacy to save myself. In the name of Jesus, I rebuke Satan and the lies that I have come to believe. Jesus, would you break the stronghold of ______ in my life! You alone have the power, and I submit my will and spirit to you. In the power of your perfect name I pray! Amen.

End with a prayer time for the entire group, asking the Holy Spirit to bring freedom and new life to each member of the group.

As you end your prayer time, remind everyone this is just the first step. They must continue to do all they can to not repeat the patterns of sin that have led to these areas of strongholds. This exercise can be painful and may reopen wounds that your group may not be qualified to address. In these situations, you may want to suggest seeking counseling or therapy from a qualified professional.

Make a point to find a time to touch base during the week to see how God is bringing freedom in these areas. Strongholds are not simply “hiccups” in our lives – they are areas where the enemy has power. Some people may feel immediate release from these areas, but for many this is just the beginning. Our encouragement is to make this sort of thing a regular occurrence in your groups.

One question you can end on:
Where have you seen victory in these strongholds?

This question might be a great way to help the group identify where the work of Jesus IS at work.