Intercession is going to God on someone’s behalf. It a holy privilege and duty, not to be taken lightly. It is strenuous and it can be messy. But it is one of the greatest ways we can minister and show love to others. We’ve learned we need a BURDEN for others, and we need to identify with the those for whom we are praying. We’ve looked at how to pray for those who are sick, how to pray when trouble comes, and how to pray about our sins and the sins of others. We’ll finish up learning from Jesus how we can pray for each other.
In John 17, we have the longest recorded prayer from Jesus. It is rich in theology and worthy of much study and meditation. We will barely scratch the surface. However, it is significant to consider what Jesus prayed for when He prayed for His disciples and for us. These were the things in the forefront of His mind in these last moments before His suffering.
Jesus first prayed for Himself.
And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed (John 17:5). We shouldn’t hesitate to pray about our legitimate needs. Jesus’s prayer for the glory and presence of God is a longing for the plan to be completed. I hear echoes of “your kingdom come, Your will be done,” in it.
We certainly need to pray for God’s will to be done in our lives and that we would work to accomplish it–and not interfere with it.
Jesus prayed for His followers.
I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours (John 17:9). There is no question that Jesus loved and prayed for unbelievers, but on this night, knowing what lay ahead, He prayed for His disciples.
We need to be faithful to pray for each other when facing challenges. To be honest, who among us isn’t facing challenges?
Jesus prayed for our protection.
Holy Father, keep (protect) them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one (John 17:11) and keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15). This is not only physical protection, but more urgently, spiritual protection. The attacks from Satan would only intensify for Jesus’s followers after His arrest.
We and our brothers and sisters are under relentless attack. You see evidence in things like discouragement, conflict, anger, doubt, apathy and even apostasy experienced by believers and the body of Christ. We need to hold each other up and pray protection for us.
Jesus prayed for our joy.
But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves (John 17:13). Jesus knew how much we needed His joy, and He specifically prayed for it.
Pray that we all recover and grasp the joy we have in Christ, in our salvation, in all its fullness. How different things would be if we just realized this.
Jesus prayed that we would be sanctified, set apart, in the truth of His word.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth (John 17:17). The living Word transforms us, making us more Christlike day in and day out. This is the goal for our life here.
We can pray that we are getting good teaching, that we are spending time in the Word, that we are applying it, that we are meditating on it, that we are bringing our lives in line with it.
Jesus prayed for our witness.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word (John 17:20).
The gospel wasn’t going to end with Jesus’s return to heaven. Here He prays that God would already be at work in the hearts of those who would hear and believe in the coming days, including us.
We must be vigilant about praying for each other’s witness and testimony. Pray that those around them have soft hearts. Pray for boldness and for opportunities.
Jesus prayed that we would be with Him to share His glory.
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory (John 17:24). Let that sink in. Peter, James and John saw His glory on the mountain. Paul saw it. John saw it again in the Revelation. They were overcome by it. However Jesus prays not just that we see it, but we share it. That is the end of our salvation. Amen!
We can pray that all of keep eternity in focus and that we long for that day when our faith ends in sight.
Over the last several weeks it has become clear that there is no shortage of things to pray for, of ways to pray for each other. May we be faithful to do it.