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The Lord’s other prayer

May 6, 2023

Daily Scripture

John 17:11-24

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. 12 When I was with them, I watched over them in your name, the name you gave to me, and I kept them safe. None of them were lost, except the one who was destined for destruction, so that scripture would be fulfilled. 13 Now I’m coming to you and I say these things while I’m in the world so that they can share completely in my joy. 14 I gave your word to them and the world hated them, because they don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. 15 I’m not asking that you take them out of this world but that you keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. 17 Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth. 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. 22 I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one. 23 I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me.
24 “Father, I want those you gave me to be with me where I am. Then they can see my glory, which you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

Daily Reflection & Prayer

Praying just before his arrest, Jesus didn’t ask God to immediately take him or his followers out of the world’s pain and evil. Instead, he asked God to be with all of them, those with him that night and all who would follow him through the centuries to come. Scholar William Barclay pointed to the core of Jesus’ prayer: “The first essential is to note that Jesus did not pray that his disciples should be taken out of this world.… [that they] might find escape; he prayed that they might find victory…. Christianity… does not offer us release from problems, but a way to solve them. It does not offer us an easy peace…. It does not offer us a life in which troubles are escaped and evaded, but a life in which troubles are faced and conquered.” * Jesus’ prayer was a prayer God always answers.

  • Scholar N. T. Wright observed that Jesus’ prayer can deepen and enrich your prayer life: “This prayer… can with only slight variation, be used by Christians of all sorts for themselves. Substitute ‘Jesus’ where the prayer says ‘I’, and replace ‘they’ and ‘them’ with ‘I’ and ‘me,’ and you’ll get the idea. But be careful. This is a serious prayer. It is one of the most serious things Jesus ever said. That’s why, deep down, it is also among the most joyful and hopeful. Pray it with awe, and with delight.” ** Are you willing to seriously try Wright’s suggestion for at least a week, and to watch what happens inside your mind and heart as a result?

Lord Jesus, I am humbled and amazed that, with the cross right ahead of you, you took the time and energy to pray for me. Help me to seek, and embrace, your offer of victory in life rather than escape from life’s challenges. Amen.

GPS Insights

Picture of Roberta Lyle

Roberta Lyle

Roberta Lyle is preparing to retire, after being on the Resurrection staff since 2006. She has served as the Program Director for Local Impact Ministries, concentrating on Education, Life Skills and Youth Focused Ministries. She wrote this blog post in early 2019.

The best coaches genuinely care about their players.

In high school I played on our tennis team, where I had the good fortune to be coached by Jim Lockett. Coach Lockett was unfailingly patient and kind–probably not the easiest thing when dealing with competitive teen-aged girls and the drama that can involve.

My personal drama? I tended to lose a contact lens during tennis matches. We would all have to stop and look for my contact. At the time I wore expensive contacts (and I had to pay for them myself), so it was really important to me to find those that popped out.  Usually someone found it in a couple of minutes. One game we couldn’t find it. After several minutes of searching, we had to give up and go on playing. The next day when I went to practice Coach Lockett had a surprise for me. He had gone back to the court and searched until he found my contact, miraculously still intact. I don’t know how long he spent looking for that little piece of plastic, but it meant a lot to me that he cared so much that he would spend part of his day looking.

Later that year we were playing at another school. I was with Coach Lockett as my friend Linda warmed up. We were wearing brand new, powder blue polyester sweat suits. Linda was nervous and was overthinking and making mistakes. Suddenly she slipped and went down. Coach Lockett went to check on her–she was okay but had torn a hole in the knee of the brand-new sweatpants. She was apologetic. He assured her that he was glad she wasn’t hurt, and the pants didn’t matter. After that, Linda forgot her nerves and played a great game. I remember Coach Lockett whispering to me that the distraction of tearing a hole in the knee was just what she needed to forget herself and regain her focus. In sports or in life when we focus on what we’re doing wrong we aren’t able to bring our best selves to any situation or be the vessel God needs us to be to accomplish his work.

The tributes that poured in after Coach Lockett’s death talked about how much he cared for those he coached, went out of his way to help others and believed in people when they didn’t believe in themselves. Many mentioned his faith and willingness to witness to others. There was even an amazing story of how he saved a baby’s life in a grocery store parking lot by helping the mom do CPR until paramedics arrived.

In coaching and in life Jim Locket was a man who, like Jesus, reflected God’s love by caring for others, believing in them and helping them be their best selves. Coaches always have an impact on their players. Coaches who truly care make a difference far beyond creating better athletes. Did I become a better tennis player because of Coach Locket? Probably. Am I a better person because of his influence? Definitely.

© 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.

* William Barclay, The Gospel of John—Volume 2 Chapters 8–21 (Revised Edition). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1976, p. 215.
** N. T. Wright, John for Everyone, Part 2 (The New Testament for Everyone) (p. 96). Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.