I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. ~John 17:9
John 17 records for us the Great High Priestly prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ. It appears that Jesus prayed this prayer before He went to the Garden of Gethsemane. It is an important prayer. It is a passionate prayer for the men whom He trained and loved. It sets forth a pattern for prayer. This prayer gives us a firm understanding that prayer for other people is an indispensable duty of the Christian life. These men were about to engage in a whole new platform of responsibility. Jesus prayed for some things that these men needed.
He prayed for their safety.
In verse 11, He prayed, “Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me.” In verse 15, He prayed that the Father would keep them from evil, knowing that the attacks of the evil one would intensify. Even though Jesus had taught them much, He knew that Satan’s devious methods would seek to distract, disengage, divide, and devour them. Jesus prayed that they would be kept through the powerful name of the Lord. We are only safe when we hide ourselves in the powerful name of the Lord. “The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe.” We must pray that our loved ones and those in ministry be kept safe.
He prayed for their solidarity.
“That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee.” The doctrine of the trinity, or Godhead, is difficult for us to understand. This doctrine teaches us that God is three Persons in One. We see three distinct roles wrapped up into one. There is no conflict in the Trinity. There is complete uniformity. Jesus saw the constant power struggles and strife among the twelve. He prayed that they would die to self when it came to ego, position, power, responsibility, and assignment. Oneness is essential to win this world to Christ. Oneness is essential for a healthy church. Oneness is essential for doctrine. Oneness is essential to glorify God.
He prayed for their sanctification.
He prayed, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” He prayed that God’s Word would be a perpetual mirror to help them see changes that they needed to make in their life. He prayed that the truth would continuously transform them. He prayed that the power of the Word would keep them separated from worldliness and a sinful lifestyle. It’s hard to walk the dusty paths of this world and not get our clothes and body dirty. In a similar way, it's hard to live in this world and not get our soul soiled by sin. God’s truth is what sanctifies us.
He prayed for their soulwinning.
In verse 20, Jesus also prayed for those who would believe on Him through their witness. His praying was multi-generational. He prayed that they would have fruit and that their fruit would remain. Jesus wants each of us to bring forth fruit, more fruit, and much fruit. He wants us to have fruit that remains. He wants us to focus on replicating ourselves in the lives of other people. The greatest testimony that we can have is when the gospel message permeates our life and results in fruit in others' lives. This is true spiritual reproduction.
Jesus teaches us a pattern for prayer. This same pattern is to be carried out in our praying as we seek the Lord every day. This is praying that changes lives. This is praying that touches the world for Christ. Study this prayer. Utilize the principles found within it to see God change those you pray for.
Have a prayer-centered God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Luke 2-3