I. Introduction (10 Minutes)
- Open the class with a brief prayer for each of the couples.
II. Sharing Session (85 Minutes)
- Ask about the homework questions on pages 5 and 6 in the handbook (3 minutes).
- Ask people to respond only if they wrote answers in their handbooks.
- Respond to each answer positively and briefly.
- Remind the class to complete the Prayer Notes page during sharing session.
- Explain why we never rescue sharers (3 minutes).
- When people feel safe, they sometimes say more than they intended to say.
- Sometimes, while sharing deeply their emotions get the best of them.
- This is a sign of growth, not weakness.
- When someone reaches this state, others sometimes want to rescue the sharer.
- Rescue attempts often prevent people from completing a much-needed confession or forgiving of the spouse or another.
- Two common rescuers are the Class Clown and the Good Samaritan. (Briefly explain each one. For help, refer to pages 60-61.)
- Urge the class to resist the urge to rescue any sharer.
- Briefly remind everyone that we would violate the confidentiality rule by taking pictures or videos, or recording someone sharing at any point in the class. (1 minute).
- Tell about four chairs up front (2 minutes).
- They are called the sharing chairs.
- Call four at a time.
- Have them answer the questions on page 8 in the handbook.
- Encourage them not to take their handbooks to the sharing chairs.
- Have questions on the board at the back where they can see them.
- You and your assistant go first—be open and answer each properly, using no notes.
- Then explain how applause gives affirmation and support.
- Call four at a time (72 minutes).
- Have them start by sharing their names.
- Applaud when each person finishes.
- Affirm each sharer in turn.
- Thank all four when the row finishes and call another row.
- Repeat this process until everyone shares.
- Recap and vote for the person showing the most desire to improve their marriage (5 minutes).
- No one votes until the recap concludes.
- You collect the votes.
- No one ever ties or hears there was a tie.
- The assistant breaks ties for first or third place and fills in the book.
- When ballots are collected they go into break.
III. Break (15 Minutes)
IV. Final Session (35 Minutes)
- Present the award card or book to the appropriate honoree (2 minutes).
- Ask all three honorees to stand one at a time and applaud each.
- Make sure all three sit down before presenting the book or card.
- Remind the honoree to share the card/book back for class notes of encouragement.
- Explain next week’s homework (3 minutes)—refer to page 10 in the handbook.
- Group affirmation (10 minutes)
- Give everyone 30 seconds to select one person who touched him or her, and thank the person for his or her message, attitude, example, or encouragement.
- Remind everyone to confer with his or her Prayer Notes.
- Keep time on each person to avoid going over time.
- If your time runs out before the entire group has an opportunity to affirm another, stop the activity anyway.
- Closing Activity: Learning an effective way to pray with your spouse (15 minutes).
- . Give each person “A Simple But Effective Way to Pray Together” (page 90 in this manual).
- 2. Read aloud the information on Adoration and the accompanying scripture.
- Give the group one minute to silently fill the blank lines for Adoration.
- Repeat this process for Confession, Thanksgiving, and Solicitation.
- With whatever time remains, ask each couple willing to do so to pray together for strength and commitment to pray using the ACTS formula every day for the next eight weeks.
- “What did you learn tonight?”
- Give a brief, encouraging pep talk.
- Closing prayer (Ask someone from the class to lead the prayer for the entire group. If it feels comfortable, ask everyone to join hands in a circle.)
Class Preparation Checklist
- Listen to “Facilitator Skills” and “Session 1 messages on the Facilitator audio messages.
- Bring your Bible to the session.
- Pray for each couple by name; pray for God to use you.
- Prepare the name tags.
- Copy the ACTS prayer sheets for every person (page 90).
- Bring an award to class.
- Bring extra pens.
- Bring a box of facial tissue.
- Bring ballots to class.
- Make sure the refreshments are coming.
Classroom Set-up Checklist
- Arrange room furniture for classroom set-up.
- Eliminate outside viewing of the classroom.
- Put “Do Not Enter” signs on all doors to the classroom.
- Write the sharing session questions on the board (see page 8 in the student handbook).
A Simple but Effective Way to Pray Together
For the next eight weeks please use the ACTS pattern for praying together daily as husband and wife.
1. A – Adoration. In the space below write as many phrases as you can think of that praise God, exalting Him above all. Aim your emotions of awe and adoration at Him, and let them flow through you. As one example of adoration, listen as your facilitators read aloud Psalm 8:1-4. Now write some phrases you can use in your prayers this week with one another that praise God.
2. C – Confession. Write down the things you need to confess to God – any failings, foibles, or wrong acts you’ve done. Be specific, and don’t leave out anything, no matter how trivial it may seem to you. As one example of confession, listen as your facilitators read aloud Psalm 51:1-4. Now write some things you need to confess to your spouse.
3. T – Thanksgiving. List everything you can think of that you’re thankful for. Start with those things most important to you and move in ever increasing circles until you include a wide list of appreciation. Thank God for everything that’s good and wonderful in your lives. As one example of thanksgiving, listen as your facilitators read aloud Psalm 100. Now list those things that are most important to you and your relationship together.
4. S – Solicitation. List all the things you want to ask of God – things you need and things you want but don’t necessarily need. Don’t be hesitant or shy. Just make sure your requests aren’t selfish. Nothing is impossible for God. As one example, listen as your facilitators read aloud II Chronicles 6:19-21. Now list the things you most want God to do for, to, and with you and your spouse.
*1 Material for this page adapted from the Becoming ONE workbook, pages 92-94