Christians have unpacked the prayer found in John 17 since it was first recorded. It is rich, sincere, and thoughtful, which makes it fitting to emulate. But instead of thinking that we must pray it verbatim, we need to understand the context and original meaning of “The Prayer of Jesus”. First, let’s remember what came before and what comes after this prayer.
Directly before John 17, Jesus was helping his disciples understand the suffering they would soon endure for claiming Jesus as Lord. They were already in turmoil over the Jewish-Roman conflict but would face many more difficulties ahead for the name of Christ. Jesus reminded them that God is with them at all times through the Holy Spirit.
After John 17 ends, the disciples see firsthand what Jesus meant. He would be betrayed and arrested, and soon face floggings, mock trials, and crucifixion. He did all of this for them and for us. And it shows us that there is nothing we could ever face that He doesn’t understand. He endured the darkness of the gates of Hell so that we could see the pearl-lined gates of Heaven.
In between John 16 and 18, we see the King of the universe pause for prayer. What does He pray for? Here are just a few things I found:
• The glory of God & the Son of God
• His commitment to the unfolding plan of redemption
• For His followers to remain in the Father
• To keep believers from the evil one
• To sanctify His followers
• Unity among His followers
• His love for us
• His desire for us to love like He loves us
Before you simply jump into “praying like Jesus prays” in John 17, reflect on the submission and humility in this passage. Let’s strive to be like our Savior in the way we approach prayer.
By: Todd Thomas