Listening to a fellow brother or sister in the Lord pray with sincerity and adoration to the Lord is a tremendous blessing. That is one of the things I love about being a part of prayer meetings. To hear the prayer of a recent convert or someone that has walked with the Lord for many years is a wonderful experience. As wonderful as that can be, no prayer can even begin to be compared to the prayers of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Master of Prayer.
Prayer was a constant part of His earthly ministry (Luke 3:21; 5:15; 6:12-13; 9:18; 9:28-29; 10:21; 22:31-32; 23:34; 24:30; 24:50-51) and even now as He is seated at the right hand of the Father (Rom. 8:34; Heb.7:25; 1 John 2:1).
In John 17 we read a prayer by the Lord Jesus Christ, which took place before His betrayal and arrest. It has been given various titles like, “The High Priestly Prayer” or “the True Lord’s Prayer”. The prayer consists of three parts: prayer for Himself (John 17:1-5), prayer for His disciples (John 17:6-19) and prayer for all who will ever believe (John 17:20-26). In this post I want to make a four observations concerning this prayer and what we can learn from it.
Firstly, in this prayer the Lord Jesus desired the glory of God (John 17:1, 4, 5, 10, 22, 24). He begins by praying, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you” (John 17:1). We can learn two things from this. Concerning God, He will be glorified regardless of what goes on in this world. Also, when we pray, before us is to be the aim to offer God our highest due and reverence.
Secondly, and closely related to the previous point, we learn about the importance of God’s sovereign purpose. The psalmist declared, “Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases” (Psalm 115:3). In this prayer we see one way in which this is true. Our Lord speaks of God’s sovereign purpose in saving sinners. Those who have and will believe are referred to as individuals who were given to Christ (John 17:2, 6, 7, 9, 11, 12, 24). It is for them and not the world that Christ prays (John 17:9). This is a reference to the sovereign purpose of the Father in eternity past (cf. 2 Tim. 1:9). In fulfilment of this purpose, Jesus said to the Father that He had “accomplished the work that you gave me to do” (John 17:4).
Thirdly, this prayer teaches us about holiness. Jesus addresses the Father as “Holy Father” (John 17:11) and “righteous Father” (John 17:25). He desires that His people who are in the world would be “kept from the evil one” (John 17:15) and that they would be sanctified in the truth (John 17:17).
Finally, He prays for unity. He desires that His people would be one (John 17:21). This is so that the world may see a testimony that magnifies the glory of God (John 17:21, 23).
In this prayer we see a concern for the glory of God, the purpose of God, the holiness of God’s people, and the unity of God’s. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Master of prayer. Let us be grateful that He prayed this for us and may we learn from this so as to help us in our personal time of prayer.