In John 17 Jesus prays the prayer of all prayers. A student of the scriptures could stay in John 17 for years and not glean all that Christ says in the passage. He knows that he will be killed in a matter of days. It is the prayer of his death-bed so to speak. If you knew you would die in three days time what would you pray? What would be on your heart?
My prayer buddies came over tonight. We are a small group of moms that love to fellowship and share our lives. Talking, laughing, and praying are three of our favorite things. We do not get together that often, so when we do it is a blessing. Our focus is our children. Wrestling through the teenage years has proven to be a prime motivator for prayer on our parts. Tonight the discussion led us to question how to let go and still parent at the same time. It is a tight rope to walk. I was reading here in John 17, looking for something specific, when this part of the prayer jumped out at me. It is the part where he prays for the disciples. It makes me think about my children because it just sounds like something I would pray for them. When I thought I might die, I had similar thoughts and prayers.
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me…I pray for them not the world for they are yours…protect them by the power of your name….While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe…I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world anymore than I am. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
If I am gone, or when my children leave the nest (coming very soon) I desire for them to cling to the word of God with which I have instructed them. I know that they will not fit in here. None of us who are followers of Christ do. Yet I want them to walk in the truth.
I had never thought of this prayer in this way before. Check out the whole section from verse 6-19 and see if you do not agree with me. I guess when you think about it the disciples were his spiritual children. I understand the heart behind the prayer by reading this passage from a parent’s perspective. It causes me to know that Christ himself desires for my children to be cared for and protected. As we send our children out into the world and away from us, we can rest easier knowing that Christ prayed this prayer and understands our desire for our children to know him.
If that was not enough, he goes on to pray for us. He was about to die when he looked into the future and saw you and me. We were the prayers of his heart that night. Whew, how humbling is that? I was looking for this part of the prayer, when I stumbled onto the previous section, because this part talks about unity in the spirit.
“That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I in them and you in me. May they be in complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”
Thinking about worship led me to this passage. As I wrote about last week, worship is when our spirits unify with God’s glory. It is uniting with God and each other in a powerful spiritual moment in time. Here in John 17, it seems to describe this very thing. We have been given the glory of God in order to become one with him. When we enter into worship corporately this happens…united in heart and purpose. The peace flows and glory is tangible in his presence. It is what we hunger for. According to this passage, the purpose of this worship is that the world would know Christ, through watching us. He gives us each different gifts and ways in which to worship him. When we are worshiping him individually, he reveals himself to us through these gifts. As we come together these individual gifts, blend into one body…the unity he is talking about in this passage, one may sing, another may dance. I am inspired to write, another is led to study his word. All receive from him during these times of communion. We are one with him and each other. It is when we go out into the world refreshed, after such a time of worship that he draws them to us. They see the joy and peace and long to share it. They dare to imagine that relationships could be loving, as they witness the unity of the body. This worship and the glory he pours out, is a billboard for God. It is what Jesus most wanted to see when he prayed this prayer. When we enter in to worship, his prayer is fulfilled.