This morning, read all of John 17.
Can you imagine being with Jesus as he prayed this prayer? Just before this prayer in John 16, Jesus began speaking in clear language with his disciples (instead of stories and parables), something they were thrilled about. Shortly after this conversation with his disciples, Jesus looks to heaven and prays. His prayer can be divided into three section from which we can learn.
1. Jesus glorifies himself.
This point is not to say that we should glorify ourselves when we pray... However, to know that God in the flesh glorifies himself in the beginning of his prayer is powerful. When Jesus teaches his disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9, he begins with, "Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name." Just as he teaches his disciples to glorify God in prayer, so also he glorifies himself in prayer. Perhaps more of our prayer time can or should be focused on hallowing the name of God. He is worthy of our praise, and often times our prayers become too self-focused instead of God-focused.
2. Jesus prays for his disciples.
Jesus prays, "Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one." Our prayers can echo this sentiment, as each part of the body needs the other parts to fight alongside and pray with and for them. The evils of the darkness are constantly trying to snatch the hearts and minds of believers, but through prayer we can help to strengthen and protect. Jesus then prays, "Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth." It is so easy to hear or study "a truth" instead of "the truth" in today's post-modern, universality day and age, where everything that means anything is true to someone. Our prayers matter when we pray that our fellow brothers and sisters are sanctified by the truth. This is important, and is another way to protect ourselves and each other from the foothold of the evil one.
3. Jesus prays for future disciples.
Lastly, Jesus prays, "“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you." Some statistics say that there are 30,000-40,000 different sects of Christianity in the world. This hardly means that we are one! Jesus prays that all people who would come to believe in him would be one. As far as it depends on you, be one with your brothers and sisters in Christ. Love with humility and be unified in one Spirit. Resolve the conflicts you have with patience and the wisdom of the Spirit, and, "If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone." Easier said than done, but through prayer, this becomes more possible.
Pray as Jesus prayed in John 17. Glorify God, pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ, pray for those becoming Christians now and for those who will become Christians in the future; pray for their protection and for their unity with the one body of Christ.