Reading Group Guide
1. From whom did you first hear about Don Piper’s story? What is your motivation for deciding to read this book?
2. Why do you think Don chose an alternate route that day? What examples can you give from your life, or from someone you know, where you believe God ultimately used something harmful or negative for good?
3. How did Don’s experience differ from what many describe as a near-death experience?
4. Compare Don’s experience of heavenly music with the verse quoted at the beginning of the chapter, Revelation 5:11. In your life, what has been your most powerful experience with music? How might it compare with what heaven holds for us?
5. How does Don describe the heavenly gates? Have you ever observed anything that beautiful—and if so, what was it?
6. EMTs declared Don Piper dead on impact. What caused Dick Onerecker to pray for him anyway? Have you or someone you know ever experienced an undeniable urge to do something unusual? What was the result?
7. Dick told Don “he wished he could pray like that all the time.” Have you ever prayed, like Dick, for a miracle? Have you seen God perform a miracle in answer to someone’s prayer?
8. Don Piper writes that he believes there are no “accidents or surprises with God.” How many miracles happened in order for Don to live? Why do you believe many people describe events as “fortunate circumstances” rather than miracles?
9. List several reasons why you believe God allowed Don to be brought back from heaven to “live a pain-filled life on earth.” How do your answers help you deal with your own personal pain, whether physical, emotional, or spiritual?
10. Don finally allowed his visitors to help him . . . starting with magazines and a milkshake. How do you feel when someone allows you to help them during a time of need? Is there anyone in your life whom you need to let help you in some way?
11. Don writes that he needed the “breath of God” to bring him out of his deep depression. How did music help him find emotional healing?
12. In chapter 11, Don says the best he could do after his accident was simply to endure—even when he faced depression. Do you believe Don’s recovery process was another miracle? Was Don wrong or right to wish he could die and return to heaven?
13. What challenge did David Gentiles give Don about sharing his experience in heaven with others? If you were Don, would you share your story of heaven? Why or why not?
14. Describe Don’s “new normal.” Name a change that has happened in your life and how you have learned to appreciate and even celebrate your change in circumstances.
15. How do you feel about Don’s statement at Joyce’s funeral: “Can you lose someone if you know where she is?” Have you grieved over the loss of a loved one while also being happy that they are in heaven? Describe your feelings.
16. Don says his experience in heaven is more real than anything he’s experienced on earth (pg. 194). Like Don, do you know for sure you are going to heaven when you die? If you’re not sure, what things can you do to answer that question?
17. Think of a time in your life, or the life of a loved one, when living involved suffering. Describe how you feel about heaven—a place where the Bible says there will be no more pain.
18. The Bible verse 1 Corinthians 13:12 describes heaven as a place where we will “know everything completely.” Do you believe Don Piper went to heaven? Do you believe you, like Don, can know that your loved ones will join you there? How might that change the way you live today?
19. How has your view of heaven changed as a result of reading this book? How might Don Piper’s story change the way you pray in the future?