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Jesus prayed for his followers (including you)

October 24, 2022
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Daily Scripture

John 17:6, 10-11, 18-21

6 “I have revealed your name to the people you gave me from this world. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word.

10 Everything that is mine is yours and everything that is yours is mine; I have been glorified in them. 11 I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world, even as I’m coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them in your name, the name you gave me, that they will be one just as we are one.

18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 I made myself holy on their behalf so that they also would be made holy in the truth.

20 “I’m not praying only for them but also for those who believe in me because of their word. 21 I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me.

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Daily Reflection & Prayer

John 17 showed Jesus in prayer. His earthly ministry was over, the cross hours away. He asked God to “glorify” him—through the cross, not in typical human ways! He prayed, not for his own well-being but for his followers. He asked God to empower “those who believe in me because of their word”—in other words, for Christians through the ages, including you. He prayed that they would be, not identical, but “one”: “I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you” (verse 21).

  • In John 17:14, Jesus said, a bit surprisingly, that his followers “don’t belong to this world” any more than he did. In what ways are you most interested in, and attentive to, this world? In what areas of life do you most sense your energy and focus shifting to God’s Kingdom, both in God’s mission in this world and in the hope of eternity beyond this world that God offers?
  • Scholar N. T. Wright wrote, “Imagine some great figure of the past….who you respect and admire. Imagine historians have just found…a letter from the great man. And imagine that it was talking about—you! How would you feel? That is how you should feel as you read verse 20. Jesus is talking about you. And me.” * Jesus was sure his kingdom would defeat the world’s hatred, and in time reach you. How does your heart respond when you realize Jesus prayed for you?
Prayer

Lord Jesus, make me a living, breathing answer to your prayer. I open my heart to the work of your Holy Spirit. Guide me as I seek to share your love and grace with everyone I meet. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Mindy LaHood

Mindy LaHood

Mindy LaHood serves on the Worship Experience team at Resurrection. She loves all things related to worship and enjoys working with our talented team of staff and volunteers. One of her favorite things to read about and study are stained glass windows, and she considers herself very blessed to work and worship in a place with such a magnificent window.

What does prayer mean to you?

I’ve grown up in church and I’ve heard many prayers. I was taught to pray mealtime and bedtime prayers. I learned and memorized the Lord’s prayer in Sunday school and VBS. At some point, though, I began to become somewhat cynical about prayer. Not the importance of it, not the power of it, not the intimacy of it…I was cynical because of who was praying or the circumstances in which we were asked to pray. Oftentimes, I would feel like there was no meaning, no heartfelt crying out to God but rather a grand-standing type of showing in the words being said out loud. Other times, prayer felt like a channel for gossip or a means to seek the attention of others. In essence it felt forced, or fake. I was very cynical.

God quickly began working in my heart to remind me that it’s not ever my place to judge the hearts of those who are praying; and I, myself, also needed to spend some time examining my heart before going to God in prayer. I entered into a pretty lengthy time where I wrestled with my attitude about prayer…I just wanted prayer to be special, sincere…not a laundry list of complaints or a wish list of things I wanted or needed from God.

In fact, there was such an ache in my heart to be sincere in my prayers that I often refused to pray out loud when asked to do so. Because in praying out loud, in front of others, I knew my mind was more focused on praying a “good” prayer rather than talking with the most Holy God. For the longest time, when I was asked to pray, I politely declined. My friends would give me a hard time, especially if we were out to dinner. Someone needed to pray a blessing for the meal, and I consistently refused to pray out loud. Sometimes they would just bow their heads waiting for me to speak, and when I wouldn’t do so, we just sort of looked like this odd bunch of people sitting at Chili’s with our heads bowed while our food was getting cold.

During this time, it wasn’t as though I had given up on praying…I just didn’t pray out loud and I struggled big time in listening to the prayers of others. I still prayed. I still kept a prayer journal. But I began to ask God to work in my heart where prayer was concerned. This happened to coincide with a very difficult time in my life and I related to the passionate and fervent prayers of Hannah. If you remember the story of Hannah, you know that she prayed so passionately for a child that people thought she was drunk. I wasn’t praying for a child, but there was such a burden on my heart for God to intervene in a situation, that I often simply prayed, “God, hear my Hannah cry.” My crying out to God was intense. I believe we’ve all been there at some point.

Sometimes, when our prayers are Hannah-type prayers, there aren’t even words to them. In those moments, I’m grateful that the Holy Spirit intercedes on our behalf. There’s a choral anthem my choir used to sing, My Wordless Prayer by Craig Courtney. It’s a beautiful song about prayer when there are no words to say…when our prayer is simply a sigh. You can listen to it here. * Listening to the words of this song reminds me that my prayers don’t have to be perfect or well-rehearsed, they don’t have to be lengthy or have deep meaning…God understands and cares about my silent prayers too.

I’m a work in progress, and God continues to help guide and shape my practice and understanding of prayer. Prayer is still profoundly intimate and private for me, but I don’t shy away from praying out loud. It’s not lost on me the sacrifice that was made on my behalf so that I could even be allowed to come before God in prayer. The fact that I’m allowed to speak so directly and with such frequency to God is a privilege; it’s an act of grace. I don’t ever want to take for granted the opportunity to come before Him. Now, when I’m praying, I make sure to remind myself that because of Jesus, I have a direct and open line to the One who loves me…the One who created me…to the One who saved me.

* My Wordless Prayer. Craig Courtney. Bekenhorst Press, Inc.

© 2024 Resurrection: A United Methodist Church. All Rights Reserved.
Scripture quotations are taken from The Common English Bible ©2011. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
References

* Wright, N.T., John for Everyone, Part 2: Chapters 11-21 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 97). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.