prayer in victory
Two teams. Two cities. Two groups of excited fans. On Super Bowl Sunday, all of them were vying for just one thing: VICTORY. Before the big game, we gathered for EPL to discuss some of these ideas from 1 John 5.
"If we believe that Jesus is truly Christ, we are God’s children. Everyone who loves the Father will also love his children. 2 If we love and obey God, we know that we will love his children. 3 We show our love for God by obeying his commandments, and they are not hard to follow.
4 Every child of God can defeat the world, and our faith is what gives us this victory. 5 No one can defeat the world without having faith in Jesus as the Son of God. …
9 We believe what people tell us. But we can trust what God says even more, and God is the one who has spoken about his Son. 10 If we have faith in God’s Son, we have believed what God has said. But if we don’t believe what God has said about his Son, it is the same as calling God a liar. 11 God has also said that he gave us eternal life and that this life comes to us from his Son. 12 And so, if we have God’s Son, we have this life. But if we don’t have the Son, we don’t have this life.
13 All of you have faith in the Son of God, and I have written to let you know that you have eternal life. 14 We are certain that God will hear our prayers when we ask for what pleases him. 15 And if we know that God listens when we pray, we are sure that our prayers have already been answered.
Then we had a discussion around the following questions:
[v.1-2] What comes to mind when you think about a healthy relationship between a child and a good father? What does it mean that everyone who loves the father will also love his children? What feelings come about when you lean in to this idea of being God’s children?
[v. 4-5] What observations can we make about the basis of our “victory”? How is that meaningful to you? [Note: the word “defeat” in v. 4-5 refers to the idea of “the way we behave when we're already victorious”] . How do we generally feel when we’re victorious? How does “defeating” the world translate to our lives?
[v. 9-12] What stands out to you in the text about the relationship between the ideas of truth, lies, and God’s Son (Jesus)? What invitations do you hear being spoken to us in this section?
[v.13-15] What is the relationship between belief in God’s Son (Jesus) and our prayer life? What is it referring to when it says “our prayers have already been answered”? How is this meaningful to you?
The text helped us see that although our understanding of "victory" often revolves around our perceived ability to "live successfully", God is inviting us into a greater victory through Jesus. We learned that in Jesus, we are called children of God, and within that very identity, we have a greater, more complete victory than any single "win" we strive for in life. So, our victory is not found in our ability to accomplish a task or succeed in an endeavor, but rather, we are victorious because we are children of a victorious God through the good news that Jesus came, lived, died, rose, and reigns victorious on our behalf.
We talked about how we feel when we experience victory in our lives - we tend to live with greater confidence in every area! That is the very underlying confidence we are invited to experience as we navigate life each day, come hardships and joys alike.
As the passage also taught us, this confidence permeates our prayer life because we know God hears us as a father hears a child. As the passage says, he has already given us everything because he has given us himself. We get God! We get Jesus! We get One who walks alongside us to make good times shine brighter and hard time more bearable because he rejoices with those who rejoice and weeps those who weep. And with every struggle or delight, he lovingly reminds us that real victory is already yours as a child of God!
THIS WEEK'S PRACTICE
As we pray this week, let’s explore what it might look like to center our prayer around the person of Jesus and experience victory in him. Read scriptures about who we are in Jesus (some good suggestions: Romans 8, re-read 1 John 5). Let God speak to you about who he says you are. Then try this exercise when you sit down to pray this week:
Name one thing people say about you (or you say about yourself) that you tend to believe.
What does God say about you in this regard? How does the reality that you are a child of God inform the truth of what God says about you? Consider journaling about this.
Pray that you would more deeply understand the victory you have in Jesus and to “trust what he says more” than the other voices you hear.
Pray for the faith to trust God’s promises and live with the confidence of a victor in our world this week.