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The Lord’s other prayer

February 3, 2022
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Daily Scripture

John 17:9, 14-24

John 17:9, 14-24

9 “I’m praying for them. I’m not praying for the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours.

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

  • John recorded another “Lord’s prayer,” one Jesus prayed just before his arrest. Even at this time of crisis, Jesus focused most of his prayer on the spiritual well-being and safety of his followers. He didn’t ask God to take his people out of the world’s pain and evil, but to unify them (a prayer that hasn’t been answered!), strengthen and sustain them no matter what they faced. Note that he was not just praying for the group around him that evening. Jesus prayed for you that night, too (verse 20).
    • In verse 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 of Jesus’ prayer: “This prayer…can with only slight variation, be used by Christians of all sorts….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.” * Try it, and see how it shapes your other prayers.
Prayer

Lord Jesus, it humbles me that, with the cross right ahead of you, you prayed for me. Help me to pray, as you did, for spiritual victory in life rather than escape from life’s challenges. Amen.

GPS Insights

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory

Janelle Gregory serves on the Resurrection staff as Human Resources Lead Director. Janelle finds that her heart is constantly wrestling with the truth that she needs a Savior, and the times when she's at her very best are when she's just too tired to put up a fight.

We have three cats. Yes, three. We are those people. Before you roll your eyes, understand that we’re quite fine with that. And all three cats are indoor-only cats. While those of you with dogs and outdoor cats might not understand that, let me just tell you that in no way do I think our cats are suffering. I don’t believe in reincarnation (once on this side of eternity is enough for me). However, if I did, I’d want to come back as a Gregory cat. The humans of the household are pretty much at the cats’ beck and call for attention, food, and any other need a housecat might possibly have.

While I think our cats are living a life that is the cat’s meow (see what I did there?), I do think about the limited perspective they have of existing. Their entire world is contained within 1700 square feet. They’ll get glimpses of the outside when they stare out the windows, but that’s as much as they have – just a glimpse. They have NO IDEA about the enormity of the world beyond those walls.

I actually think we live a similar kind of life. Our perspective of existence is contained within the length of our lives and within the world that we see. We have NO IDEA what exists beyond our limited context. We’re indoor cats. We get glimpses into how God views the world, but we’ll never fully grasp the perspective that God must have.

I believe we should do our best to live abundantly in this world, but we should also have the awareness that this isn’t it. This isn’t all there is. We are part of a magnificent story of God’s relationship with his people. It is a story that existed before there were even people with whom to be in relationship and that goes on for eternity. There is a realm beyond our wildest imaginations that isn’t confined to time and space where God’s holiness and goodness abound. We capture glimpses of it from time to time, but as long as we are confined to our flesh, we’ll never fully comprehend. And that’s okay. We don’t have to understand, but it’s helpful to know that it’s there. I wouldn’t even begin to know how to describe it other than to see that it is our Redeemer’s view. And through his lens we find our identity, our purpose, and the nourishment our souls need to live out our lives as indoor cats.

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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. 96). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.