Gerald Egan has affirmed the interconnectedness between self-disclosure and love: “A person who cannot love cannot reveal himself. The converse also seems true: the person who cannot reveal himself cannot love.… The very sharing of the human condition—in its sublimity, banality, and deformity—pulls people together.” The theological implication of Egan’s declaration is that the person who is able to receive the love of Abba God gains the self-respect, dignity and courage to self-disclose appropriately before others. The freedom of confession grows out of an awareness and confidence of being loved by God or by another human being. The freedom to share the pain of life together opens a highway into community.
The intentional development of dialogical prayer disciplines are a helpful entrée into the freedom of self-disclosure and confession. Roberta Hestenes has said that prayer in a small group can be a wonderful or terrifying experience. People who have never prayed out loud may panic when told they are expected to pray.… Prayer can unify a group as nothing else will. To experience unity in Christ through prayer can be a life-changing experience. It is worth the initial awkwardness to learn how to pray together.
Icenogle, G. W. (1994). Biblical foundations for small group ministry : An integrative approach. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press.