Today's Reading - John 17
John 17 is a prayer to God from Jesus. It is broken down into three parts. The first is Jesus praying for himself, second is Jesus praying for his disciples and the third part is Jesus praying for all believers. There is so much in this chapter that we can model in our own prayer life, examples from Jesus himself. Before we break these 3 parts down, I would like to focus first on the position Jesus took in this prayer. It says, “He looked toward heaven and prayed:” Now, I love bowing our heads to pray. It represents so much, our humility and reverence toward God the Father, submission to His will, etc. Maybe for some of us it is merely comfort and habitual, something we have done since childhood; but there is something about looking up to heaven that resonates with me. It seems so much more of a posture of having a conversation with God. Ready to receive His instructions and dialogue back with Him. I think some times I look at prayer as totally one-sided, me talking to God, but what this verse reminds me is that prayer is two-sided. God speaks to me while I am praying to Him, and I have experienced this dialogue. It is in those times that my prayer life is most fulfilling.
The first part of this chapter is Jesus praying for himself. Now I know we all pray for ourselves. Truth be told, I bet most of our prayers are for ourselves. Now I am not judging, I am being honest. We should pray for ourselves, but what is interesting is not that Jesus prayed for himself, but He prayed that God would glorify Him so He could glorify God. Even when He was praying for himself, it was all for the glory of God. I know that when I am praying for myself, most of the time it has nothing to do with glorifying God. This is example number one on how I should pray.
The second thing Jesus prays for are His disciples. He prays for them as a parent would pray for their children. He prays for protection and sanctification. It is a prayer of love and satisfaction. Verse 11b says, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name-the name you gave me-so that they may be one as we are one.” This example to me is on how we should pray for those we love. Our loved ones need prayer: prayers for protection from the evil one, prayers for guidance in their decisions and prayers for strength in the name of the Lord.
Lastly, Jesus prays for all believers. I must confess it is easy to pray for myself and those I love, but I do not often remember to pray for believers all around the world. Jesus says, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message.” He goes on to say, ”that they may be brought to complete unity.” See, when we pray for all believers we are uniting with them. As Christians we have all taken up the cross to follow Christ, and yes, our burdens are heavy but we are in it together. Christians on the other side of the world need my prayers and I need to stand united with them as I do for my brothers and sisters in Hampton Roads.
What a beautiful image and example Jesus shows us on prayer: face upturned in conversation with our heavenly Father, praying for one another.
Will you practice a stance of praying facing the heavens?
Can you commit to praying for all believers today?
Who can you pray for that needs an invitation to church?
Ok put down the Bible and live this week like it was the last!
by Laura Arana