We often pray for one another, don’t we? And, we should. For the Bible itself teaches us that we ought to pray for ourselves and for others. But, did you know that we are not the only ones who talk to God about us? The book of Romans affirms that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. When we pray for each other, we pray according to what we think is best. However, because He is God, the Spirit of God is able to pray for us according to God’s will and according to what He knows is best.
The Bible also records Jesus Christ Himself praying for you and me during His earthly ministry. Nearing the end of His ministry on Earth, Jesus and His disciples went to a garden called Gethsemane, in order to spend some time talking to God in prayer. John 17 records the prayer Jesus prayed for us, so today we are going to take time to talk about His words.
First, Jesus asked that God might be glorified in and through His (Jesus’) own life. He then spent some time praying for those disciples who were with Him at that time in history. Nonetheless, He prayer did not end here. Continuing, Jesus extended His prayer on into the future and began to pray for those who would choose to believe on Him throughout all the years that followed. In John 17:20-24, Jesus prays:
“I ask not only on behalf of these (His disciples), but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As, You, Father, 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. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent meand have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
Listen closely to Jesus’ prayer. He is asking God for us to become one with other believers and with Jesus Himself. Being “one” with someone else conveys the thought of unity or singularity of mindset. Here we see that our unity with other Christians and with God was very important to Jesus. However, building unity with anyone, including God, is not easy, and it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort for us to learn about Christ and to begin understanding His thoughts.
For a Christian, building unity with God ought to be our primary goal, but building our unity with other believers is closely connected to our growing unity with Christ. As we grow in our relationship with Jesus, we will also begin to grow in unity with other Christians. But, why go through all the struggle and effort to build unity? Verse 21 explains, unity is important because it is Christian unity itself that prompts a lost world to believe that God really did send Jesus to save and transform human lives. Verse 23 further explains, Christian unity also allows others to see that God loves them, just as much as He loves Jesus Christ.
Jesus continued this prayer to God in verses 25-26, saying, “O righteous Father, the World has not known You: but I have known You, and these have known that You have sent me. And I have declared unto them Your name, and will declare it: that the love where with You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Think a bit about Jesus’ prayer for us. Christ came to Earth so that mankind might know God on a personal level, through knowing Jesus. And, the fundamental reason why Jesus came to tell us about God the Father is so that we might know and experience God’s love through Jesus’ presence in us. Jesus Himself is a tangible demonstration of God’s love for you and me.
What a beautiful prayer. And, just to know that you and I were on Christ’s mind as He offered this special prayer to the Father shortly before His crucifixion speaks volumes about our value. What an example of love and care. May we take time to think about Jesus’ desire for us, and may we both strive for unity with Christ and His followers. And, if we are believers in Jesus, may we truly take time to know God’s love and enjoy the presence of His love within us.