Scripture: John 17:1-26
Observation: In his final (recorded) prayer before being arrested, Jesus recognizes that the time has come for him to go to the cross. He prays over his disciples and the suffering they’ll face, asking that God will protect them, unify them, and fill them with His word and truth.
Application: When I face a really difficult situation, my reaction usually looks something like this:
- Freak out
- Call my best friend and freak out some more
- Pray some big, bold prayers (‘Cause ain’t nobody got time for safe and passive prayers at a time like this)
- Freak out some more
- Call my best friend (again)
- Worry some more
- Pray some more
My reaction – whether it’s worry, prayer, calling my friend, or freaking out – is all centered on one thing: me.
When we read about Jesus here, he’s about to face the most difficult of difficult situations. Soon, he’ll be arrested and experience horrific pain – both physically and emotionally – on his way to the cross. And his response is similar to what mine would be: pray some big, bold prayers. (Although to his credit, that's his first response, not his fourth one.)
But here’s the thing: his prayers aren’t for him, they’re for us.
“’I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me… My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you.’” (v. 6-8, 9)
Jesus is about to face excruciating pain, humiliation, rejection, and he spends his final moments praying for others. Can you even imagine knowing what he knew and deciding to cry out to God for other people, not yourself? He prays for this:
- Protection (v11)
- Safety from the evil one (v15)
- Holiness (v17)
- Unity (v21)
- Eternal life (v24)
In our hardest moments, let’s cry out to God – but not only for ourselves. Let’s lift our eyes from our own pain, our own suffering, our own hurts, and ask him to protect, to unify, to make holy the lives of the people around us.
Today, let’s set aside our own requests and intercede for our parents, siblings, spouses, kids, bosses, friends, co-workers, neighbors with the same passion and focus that Jesus exhibited in his final moments.
Prayer: God, I pray you help me cultivate the heart of praying for others. Help me take my eyes off my own circumstances and problems and instead grow my heart for the people around me. Amen.