Jesus prayed for you and me.
“…I pray also for those who will believe in me through [the disciples’] message…”
John 17:20 (NIV)
Do you find it difficult to pray sometimes? I know I do. The words don’t always come. We can be too tired in the morning or the evening, and during the day our time can too easily be filled up with busyness and distractions. If that’s you, don’t despair. In times when I haven’t been able to pray as I would have liked it’s been comforting and reassuring to know that Jesus has prayed for me.
With all the things that must have been on his mind, the night before he left the upper room to go to the Garden, and then on to the cross, he prayed for you and me. Isn’t that incredible?
What was it Jesus prayed? He asked his Abba that we ‘may be one.’ (v.21). Jesus wanted us to have the same relationship with each other that he has with his Abba: “Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.” (v.21). The only way we can be one in our relationships is because we participate in the very life of God. We are drawn into the divine circle of love, as Jesus said, “May they also be in us…” (v.21).
The reason Jesus wants his people to be united is, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (v.21). Our close relationship with one another, as we participate in the community of the Godhead, is the power of our evangelistic witness. The world will believe in Jesus when they see him present and powerful in our lives, demonstrated in the love we have for one another.
Is this kind of unity possible within the body of Christ, after all there are so many divisions between denominations and so many factions within denominations? The only way is to join with Jesus in the relationship he has with his Abba: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (v.22-23).
Jesus prayed that we would understand that God loves us, just like he knew God loved him. God loves you with a complete and unconditional love. You are his child, and so are your brothers and sisters in Christ. When we grasp that the person sitting next to us in church, or the person in the church down the road, is loved unconditionally by God and is his child, it becomes much more difficult to hold grudges, or separate into cliques. In fact, it should be the impetus for us to strive for complete unity.
Jesus concluded his prayer for us by saying, “I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” (v.26). I for one am glad that when I find it difficult to pray, Jesus is still praying for me to know the depth of love that his Abba has for me, so that his love may be in me, and can then flow out towards others.
It’s that love that will bind us together and bring others to faith.
Abba Father, thank you for loving us unconditionally. May Christ’s prayer for all believers be answered to your glory. In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.
Study by Barry Robinson
About the writer:
Barry Robinson is a minister in Grace Communion International and Regional Pastor for Southern England.
Grace Communion International Camberwell
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