Jesus Prays for His Disciples
“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. 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. While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.
“I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified. (John 17:6-19)
Sorry for a slightly longer blog today as we set up our study of the Discipline of Prayer. The Discipline of Prayer is probably one of the most confusing for believers. Why do we pray? How do we pray? What do we pray for? How long should we pray for something? The list goes on and on. We could literally spend months studying the topic. However, our discussion will be very focused. In an attempt to strengthen our resolve to pray, we will examine this Discipline through the lens of love (just like we did for Bible Study and Creation). Our examination will be based on some powerful prayers from the Bible.
Have you ever considered how prayer should be an act of love for God, others and self? How much does prayer feature as an act of love in your life?
Jesus was committed to prayer – He loved talking to His Father. So, we will start with one of Jesus’ prayer (captured above). The entire chapter of John 17 is a beautiful prayer but we will focus on just a subset where Jesus prays for his disciples. Please pay special note to how love is demonstrated in this prayer.
Today’s Questions for comments:
- How would you describe how love is displayed in this prayer?
- What inspires you to pray with this kind of passion?
While we are considering the topic of prayer, please don’t forget to spend time praying. How about creating a prayer list this week and being disciplined to pray for specifics.
On Friday, our feature Discipline will be Fasting. I am giving you a heads-up now so you can consider dedicating Friday to a food fast if your health will allow.
March 2, 2015 at 6:13 am
Most of the people we pray for, are the people we love and care for the most. We typically pray that God will guide and protect them. If they are lost, we pray that God will lead them to his Son. If they are in financial stress, we pray for God’s blessing. If they are sick, we pray for God’s healing. The reasons go on and on. In the end, it’s because we love these individuals, why we pray for them. Jesus is demonstrating His love for His disciples by praying for them. He is asking that God protects and guides them after He, Jesus, is gone.
The disciples were Jesus’ family. He loved His family and wanted the best for them. Praying to God for them is the best He could do. When I pray for my family. It’s the best I can do. I know that I have left them in God’s hands.
March 2, 2015 at 9:32 am
Jesus prayer demonstrates his love for both his Father and his disciples. Regarding his love for his Father: He longs to have the relationship he once had with his father renewed; he rejoices in having completed the task his Father gave him to do; he speaks of the oneness that exist bewteen he and his Father
Regarding his love for his disciples: he entrusted them into the safest place they could be placed (the care and protection of his Father); he desires the best for them (their safety from the evil one; their joy being full; their sanctification; their obedience to his and the Father’s word).
Jesus makes it clear that he is praying for his disciples and not for the world, seeming indicating that this prayer he prayed was one that showed that the relationship that existed between he and them was an exclusive prayer, one designed to distinctly different from how he would pray (or the type of prayer he would pray) for anyone else.
The desire to pray with passion like this comes from the belief that it is God who has control of everything. Nothing happens unless he permits it. Therefore the best place for me, and those who I love, is to be is in his favor, to be under his care…. Prayer is the means to get to this place. This prayer also evidences a relationship that I want to have with God…a relationship that exudes confidence that, “Father, I have done everything just the way you wanted it done and I know all is well between us”. I want to pursue having a relationship like that. It is on the basis of this relationship that I will then be able to love those I love by praying for them in a manner like this.
March 2, 2015 at 10:09 am
Jesus equates us with Himself as believers and children of God and prays for us to experience the same oneness with the Father and one another that He experiences. Once again, love is experienced through knowing God (1 John 4:7). This passage clearly demonstrates how much we need prayer to live a life that brings glory to God in this world. Who better would know the spiritual battled that we would encounter while being in the world?
March 2, 2015 at 4:37 pm
Many times we as believers are “taught” how we must pray – what must be said, the length of a “good” prayer, the words that should be used. However, Jesus’ prayer was a simple one for those that He considered close to Him. The prayer showed concern and a genuine love for the disciples He was about to leave. Further in the chapter (v 20 & 21) Jesus also prays for those who are yet to hear the word and believe. This fervour can only come from loving and caring for people, regardless the relationship. But that begs the question: can we pray as fervently for those we are not close to?
March 2, 2015 at 9:12 pm
That’s a great question Ambah. We should have an opportunity to explore this question as the week progresses and we would love to hear your views.
March 2, 2015 at 7:55 pm
Jesus in the flesh had feelings just like we do – therefore imagine the range of emotions HE must have experienced when HE had to part from HIS disciples with whom HE spent many hours – they endured trials, ate and lived together, laughed, played, HE even washed their feet. HE watched them grow in their faith. Therefore it is fair to say they have a very strong bond – HE loves them and they love HIM.
HE speaks as a caretaker who has held HIS precious charges entrusted to HIM by the FATHER , and who HE has kept under the protection of HIS wing. Now HE must go – HE must wrest HIMSELF away from HIS charges – knowing the trials that lie before them – and considering the relative naivety of the disciplines who, if not for DIVINE protection would be like the proverbial sheep to the slaughter.
HIS love is also poured out for the FATHER whose soverignty he acknowledges by the absolute confidence HE places in the FATHER to protect the disciples from whatever comes – nothing happens unless the LORD allows it.
My most passionate prayers have been when I am despairing of something or when I am overwhelmed by adoration for the LORD.
March 2, 2015 at 9:09 pm
Thanks for another great day of commentary! As stated by the commentators, when Jesus prayed for His disciples He clearly demonstrated that He loved them and loved His Father. Also evident is the fact that Jesus is supremely confident of how much His Father loves Him. Simply put, there is love “all over”. I think that because of this the purity of Jesus’ motive is palpable. Contrast this pure motive based on love to the description of wrong motives in James 4:2: When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.
We should certainly be consumed by love when we pray, and if we are consumed by love for God and others I believe we will be drawn to prayer.
March 2, 2015 at 9:39 pm
Praying with this kind of passion is usually centered on persons very close to me. This type of prayer acknowledges the fact that God is in control, and cares for those i love. His love has no boundaries, as such, my prayers are not only focused on this generation, but also on the welfare of future generations.