“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours.”
Examine Christ’s prayer in John 17. This is sometimes known as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer
In reading Jesus’ high priestly prayer, we realize that the promises he has made earlier are not just for the benefit of his disciples. The offer of answered prayer is in the interest of the Lord and His kingdom.
As we looked at in the previous study, to pray in Jesus’ name is to pray in unity with him. In his high priestly prayer Jesus prays for himself, his disciples, and those believers who would follow. If we pray as Jesus prayed, we can pray for ourselves, our fellow believers whom we labor with, and for the needs of others we don’t know personally.
Jesus prays for himself
Jesus’ work on earth is to glorify the Father. He prays that the Father would enable him to do this and thus complete his mission. Likewise, we each have a mission while we are on earth. We should pray for ourselves that God would enable us to glorify His name as well.
Jesus placed full trust in the work the Father had for him to do. If we are to pray in the same spirit, we need to also trust God to work in us. Andrew Murray writes, “It is only when your own personal relationship, like Christ’s, is clear with God – when you are glorifying Him and seeking everything for His glory – that, like Christ, you will have power to intercede for those around you.”
How should you pray for yourself?
Jesus prays for his disciples
Jesus prays two things for his disciples – that God would keep them from evil and that he would sanctify them by his word. As Christians we all face struggles with sin – struggles within, and we also face persecution from others – struggles without. We should pray that God would strengthen believers in their walk with him.
Believers are sanctified in three different ways. Immediately upon salvation they are made holy in the eyes of God. As they walk daily with the Lord they are constantly striving to be holy. And at the resurrection they are perfectly sanctified. It is God’s word that is the active agent in helping us with our daily walk with the Lord. It is appropriate that we pray for strength to continually grow in our relationship with the Lord.
How should you pray for those close to you?
Jesus prays for all believers
In the final section Jesus prays for the unity of all believers. He desires that they may be effective witnesses for him. Their love would then spread to others. Our love is not supposed to be reserved for just one another. Instead it is to spread out to other people. As we show other people God’s love our group will become more and more diverse. This is a great thing because it means that we are being effective witnesses. However, it also means that they are more opportunities for conflict as struggle.
As believers we need to strive for unity. When there is infighting amongst ourselves we are not doing the will of the Lord. We need to pray for unity among all believers so that as a body of believers we can bring glory to God.
How should we pray for others?
Adapted from With Christ in the School of Prayer