Jesus’ prayer for us: John 17 (Day 361)

Bible Society's Daily Reflections follow the M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, designed for those who want to read the whole Bible in one year. Each reflection focuses on one of its four daily chapters. Darllenwch rhain yn Gymraeg.

Pray

Pray

Lord, open my ears to hear what you have to say to me; open my heart to love your word, and open my mind to understand your truth.

Reflect

Daily reflection: John 17

The Gospels tell us that Jesus often went away by himself to pray, but in this chapter we get a rare chance to overhear one of his prayers. It’s an intimate prayer for the people who love him – the disciples gathered for his last Passover meal – but also for us, ‘those who will believe in me through their word’ (verse 20, NRSV).

Jesus’ prayer for us is wide-ranging. He wants us to experience joy, glory, holiness, truth and love, but his main concerns are that we should be kept close to him, protected from evil, and that we should remain in unity with our fellow believers.

These are big requests – especially when we reflect on the things he does not ask for. Most specifically, he stresses that he is not praying for God to take us ‘out of the world’ (verse 15). He does not expect our unity and protection to come from huddling together and pulling up the drawbridge against the world. Nor does he ask for us to have a privileged place at the centre of our society, calling the shots, setting the standards for other people’s behaviour. Instead, we are to remain fully involved in a world that will sometimes hate us.

When we look closely at this prayer, and when we take a close and honest look at ourselves, we might wonder how it could possibly be answered! It is very hard to live constantly in joy, glory, holiness, truth, love and perfect unity, protected from evil, while also refusing the temptation to retreat from the world. Perhaps that is why Paul urges the Ephesians, ‘Keep alert and never give up; pray always for all God’s people’ (Ephesians 6.18, GNB). It is wonderful to know that Jesus prayed for us (and still does – Romans 8.34), but we need to constantly join in his prayer on behalf of one another.

Pray

Pray

Lord Jesus, we pray for all of our fellow believers around the world and in our own local communities. Help us to support each other in maintaining our unity, our faith, our holiness and our love. Please show us how to do this in very practical ways.

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