A child peering through a telescope so big it obscures their face.

5 Intentional Questions That Start Spiritual Conversations

Are you curious?

Why curiosity is a part of God's character

Though He is all-knowing, this didn't stop Jesus from asking questions. In fact, he asked over three hundred!

Some of these were rhetorical and solely a part of rabbinical teaching (even today, Judaism emphasizes asking questions!), but Jesus used this convention to draw out the listener and enable them to reply honestly and from the heart.

"Who do you say that I am?" (Matt. 16:15)
"What do you want Me to do for you?" (Luke 18:41)
"Why are you so afraid?" (Matt. 8:26)
"Do you want to be healed?" (John 5:6)
"Do you love me?"(John 21:16)

Asking questions demonstrates care for people, and gives them a chance to share part of themselves with you.

Asking good questions enables you to connect with others in a deeper and more authentic way. It is a skill to learn to ask good questions, but it is so worth it to help others feel seen and known in love just as we are seen and known through the loving gaze of our God. 

The purposes of a person's heart are deep waters, but one who has insight draws them out.

—Proverbs 20:5

.   .   .

1. If you could change one thing about the world / society, what would it be and why?

This question hits a number of topics. You get to hear your friend's view of the world in how they answer the question. Are they pessimistic? Hopeful? What they answer says a lot about what's important to them. What do they want? What do they wish to be true of the world?

It also brings up the brokenness we see in the world. 

If they can't answer or find nothing to change, ask them why that is.

If they ask you the question back, which most people in polite conversation do, you have the opportunity to share what you believe about the brokenness you see and our need for a Savior. You don't have to get preachy—just be honest! 

2. Who is someone, or a few people, you admire (real or fictional) that you want to be like one day?

This is a question that let's people think about who they are becoming and the influential people or characters in their lives. Who is their ideal person? Who do they long to be like?

In the same way, answer honestly for yourself. Is Jesus one of those people? You can be real about that, as well as parents, siblings, characters from stories that you love. 

And then you both can be honest about how you are or aren't taking steps to be like that person. Maybe even make this a chance to have some accountability with each other.

Always look for follow-up questions or ways to revisit deeper topics like this!

3. What gives you life? What are some things that make you come alive? 

A question about joy! What brings this person joy?  With mental health issues being so rampant, a simple way to breathe in the life and healing nature of Christ is to simply invite someone into focusing on what makes them feel whole and alive and human. 

American majority culture glorifies work and invalidates rest and true experiences. This even gets into our Western church culture. When was the last time you heard a sermon on rest or spending time on things that weren't "productive" but simply allowed you to be who God made you to be?

Going on a walk, cooking a good meal, sitting and just listening to a record, doodling and drawing, a game night with friends.. these things aren't "productive" necessarily, but it is a valid need that we have! 

4. If time, resources, etc. weren't an issue, and you weren't afraid, what would you want to pursue in the next five years?

Allow yourselves to dream together! Who do they want to be? What would they want to pursue? This can tell you a lot about what they care about.Maybe it's also a time to encourage them to find ways to actually pursue that dream.

And for you too, what dreams has God put into your heart? Perhaps you have been told those things are "selfish," but what if God has given you gifts and experiences that will bless others if only you shared them. 

Do you or your friend have a talent for poems? Organizing events? Coaching? Doing hair and makeup? Taking photos? Then maybe it's time to ask God and others if you need to take the next step. Encourage each other to be all of who God has made you to be!

5. If you could talk to your teenage self, what advice would you give? 

It's good to reflect and look back, but few people give space for that these days. Sometimes because it's painful; sometimes because we're just too busy to slow down. But either way, experience changes you. So help people see and process those changes.

What have they learned over the years? What do they regret? What are they proud of?

If their change is for the better, encourage them and share how God has changed your life as well. Share in their joy!

If for the worse, speak hope and life to them. Gently frame their lives in light of the hope Christ offers. 

"Maybe you feel that way about your life, but this is what I believe God says to that."

This was originally meant to be a tool meant to help spark spiritual conversations with non-Christian friends, co-workers, etc., but they also can be asked of your fellow siblings in Christ! 

Take time and ask questions like Jesus. Because we all want to be known and loved.

Breath Prayer | Prayer Series

What is prayer?

For some, it may seem like this practice is reserved for pastors or your auntie or tia or tita  who never fails to bless every meal you share together.


Or maybe it looks like something you learned in Sunday School or at a campus ministry -- how to journal and read the Bible together. Perhaps the only time you feel like you pray (especially out loud) is at small group or church, and even then some of you may squirm and avoid eye contact with your leaders until they inevitably volunteer you to pray for the group.

"Prayer" according to etymonline.com, a website about etymology (the origin of words and their changes over time), came to us via French from the Latin root word meaning, "to ask, request, entreat." 

And here we encounter the limits of English! This is what most people deem "prayer" to be, and it shows. Much of the focus of prayer falls on the speaking, entreating, even begging to God. It's us speaking TO God. And this is very important! It is a profound beauty that God is a God who hears and lovingly receives our cries.

But how many of you know that prayer is also, listening, sitting, being with God? 


Over the next few months, we want to share some helpful articles inviting you into a more contemplative time of prayer with God. 

We hope this blesses you and encourages you on your journey with the Lord.



Breath Prayer

Imagine yourself on a typical day.

You probably wake up to some obnoxious noise, like a buzzing phone alarm or perhaps the tugging of your little ones. Maybe you pry your protesting kids from their nice warm beds in order to get them to school or daycare or grandma's in time for you to get to work. And maybe you have your earbuds in as you walk in to work in an attempt to prepare yourself for the day. And work comes with its own demands -- customers, bosses, coworkers, or frantic emails vie for your attention. 

We're only half-way through the day, and it's gotten undeniably noisy and full; maybe even overwhelming. 

Maybe you used to be able to spend time with God through journaling or prayer, but you often feel like you don't even have time to think.. much less sit down and engage with God these days.

Maybe all you feel like you can do is breathe

Breath Prayers have been a part of meditative spiritual practice for ages with roots in church tradition and is now seen analogously in counseling practices to combat anxiety. 

Often, breath prayers connect short phrases from Scripture or your own heart by breathing in the first part of the phrase and breathing out the second part. We're usually so busy that slowing down is difficult, but taking long breaths in, holding it, and releasing these breaths naturally help us wind down. 

The words "breath" and "spirit" are the same in the Hebrew text (ruwach, רוּחַ) as well as in the Greek New Testament (pneuma, πνεῦμα). Think of this prayer as embodying the presence of the Holy Spirit and allowing yourself to worshipfully breathe instead of, say, singing or dancing or other practices more typical in a Western service.

A simple breath prayer could look like this:

  • Close your eyes and invite God's presence into this moment 
  • Acknowledge any distractions that my be vying for your attention and give them to God for these few minutes ("Lord, I admit this is distracting me, but I give you my thoughts and needs right now. Spirit, enable me to connect with you in this moment.")
  • Breathe in for four seconds and pray in the first part of the verse or phrase ("Loving Father")
  • Hold for four seconds
  • Breath out for four seconds and pray the last part of the verse or phrase ("I need you today")
  • Repeat this prayer for five minutes, paying attention to your breath and body that God has blessed you with. The goal is not to rush or get to the end, but to be present with God in this moment.
  • As you pray, be aware of God's presence with you. Relish in that. Maybe even pause your words, and simply breath, listening to what God could be saying to you. He may use a feeling or a word or a picture. But if not, it's OK to just be still and present.
  • End by thanking God for this time and asking for His presence to go with you as you re-engage with your day

"Be still and know that I am God" (Psalm 46:10)
The Psalmists recognized the vitality of stillness in knowing God. By connecting prayer with your physical rhythms of breathing, you enable the Lord to connect with your body, where we often store stress. It's amazing to see how God created our bodies and how something this simple can help us connect with Him!

You may not have an hour to journal, but this is something that you could practice for five minutes during your lunch break, while commuting on a train, or when stuck in traffic. 

As you practice this, try extending your time to 10 or 15 minutes.  This could be a beautiful way of resting in the Lord instead of going to YouTube or Facebook or Netflix for that peace that we all need.

Be blessed!

Thank you always for your support and prayers for the Chicago Navigators.