I’ve noticed that people often ask pastors or spiritual leaders to pray for them… especially for important concerns and issues in their lives. It seems that there is more power in the prayers of these ‘spiritual’ giants, isn’t it? Perhaps we feel that they know how to pray better. Maybe, their prayers are more effective?
What is the basis for effective prayers? Is it about the ‘pray-er’? Or is it about the content of the prayer? Or is it about the object of prayer – to whom the prayer is addressed? for whom the prayer is about?
Jesus prayed for his disciples too. At the crucial period in his ministry with his disciples, just before he was to go the way of the cross, Jesus uttered out loud words of intercession for his disciples. It was Jesus’ way of assuring his disciples. He modelled for us why it is so important to pray and what to pray for.
How did He pray for them? Read John 17. The Ins and Outs of His prayer:
1) For whom did Jesus pray? His disciples – these are men given by the Father to Him:
1.1. ‘out’ of the world (v.6) – Jesus chose and called them out of the world – from their different profession/position in life. They were fishermen, tax collector before they met Jesus. They were called to be fishers of men – to follow Jesus.
1.2. ‘in’ the world (v 11) – Even as they were called ‘out’ of the world, they still lived ‘in’ the world. It is a world of sin, of discord and disunity. Jesus saw the importance of asking for God to protect them as they lived ‘in’ the world.
1.3. ‘not of’ the world (v.14) – Jesus asked for God’s Word to protect his disciples because even as they were in the world, they were ‘not of’ the world. It’s like being in a place where they did not belong. They were to be different from the world – to stand out of the world.
2) Pray for what? How did Jesus pray for them?
2.1. In Your Name: 11 I am no longer in the world; and yet they themselves are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, the name which You have given Me, that they may be one even as We are. 12 While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me.
God’s Name: We are children of our Father. His Name binds us together to be as one. His name signifies our status and our rights and privileges to all His resources. While in the world, we are children bearing God’s name – we pray in God’s name to be united in God’s name even as we are in the world.
2.2. In Your Truth: God’s Word is truth. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 15 I do not ask You to take them out of the world, but to keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth.
God’s Word: How do we cope with living in the world and not of the world – by God’s truth – His Word sanctifies us and enables us to live a victorious life. His Word in us keeps us from the evil one. God’s Word keeps us and shows us how to be in the world and ‘not of’ the world. God’s Word is our weapon to fight the evil one. Reading the Bible keeps us from sinning if we obey what it says.
2.3. In Your Love: 25 “O righteous Father, although the world has not known You, yet I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me; 26 and I have made Your name known to them, and will make it known, so that the LOVE with which YOU loved Me may be IN them, and I in them.”
God’s Love motivates us to love one another and be united in His name. Love connects the Father to the Son. Love connects the Son to His followers. Love connects us all together.
Brothers and sisters, let us be encouraged that in the world we have tribulation, but Jesus prays for us – We are kept safe in God’s Name, united and strengthened in God’s Name. We are sanctified in God’s Truth – God’s Word. And we are supported and held together in God’s Love!