Focal Passage: John 17:13-26
One of the great blessings of having close relationships with other believers is the ability to call upon them to pray for us in a time of need.
As a pastor, I receive numerous prayer requests each week, where people ask me to pray for the most serious and urgent needs in their lives.
Similarly, it’s not uncommon for me to call upon many others to pray for my personal needs in life and ministry.
The Bible commands us to “make supplication for all the saints,” (Ephesians 6:18), and few things are more comforting than knowing fellow believers are praying for us during difficult moments. Wouldn’t you agree?
However, if we find encouragement in knowing that others are praying for us, how much more comfort should we have in knowing that Jesus Himself is praying for us in heaven?
The writer of Hebrews testifies that Christ “lives to make intercession” for believers (Hebrews 7:25). Likewise, Paul declares that Jesus “is at the right hand of God … interceding for us.”
In the 1800s, the Scottish pastor, Robert Murray M’Cheyne, said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet the distance makes no difference; He is praying for me!”
But while Scripture teaches that Jesus is interceding for us in heaven, sometimes we wonder what Jesus is asking the Father to do. I think we find some general requests in John 17, in what’s known as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.
As our Lord was about to leave the disciples to begin His painful journey to the cross, He prayed to the Father on their behalf and also for believers throughout history (John 17:20). While this prayer is somewhat lengthy, consider a few examples of how Jesus prays for us today.
First, Jesus prays, “I do not ask you to take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one” (John 17:15). In this request, Jesus asks the Father to keep us faithful and strong as we live in a world filled with sin and evil. He doesn’t pray that we would be removed from culture. Otherwise, how would we be salt and light? But he instead asks God to protect us from temptation and sin, allowing us to live in righteousness and be witnesses for Christ.
Second, Jesus prays, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). In this part, Jesus is asking the Father to help believers grow in holiness, shed the sinful flesh, and be further set apart from the fallen world. This request is answered when believers are shaped and disciplined by God’s Word. Therefore, whenever we read our Bibles or listen to the Word preached or taught, be encouraged that Jesus is praying for us to understand and grow.
Third, Jesus prays that believers “may be with me where I am, to see my glory” (John 17:24). In this request, our Lord is pleading with the Father to keep us until the end, not allowing us to miss heaven, but to experience His presence and glory forever.
In our most difficult moments, when our faith is waning, know that Jesus is praying for us to stay strong. These are all requests that will keep us faithful until the end. Soli Deo Gloria! B&R