The Prayer for Holiness

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LISTEN NOW!

November 6, 2020

John 17:11-19 (NIV)

11 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. 12 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.

13 “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. 14 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. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

CONSIDER THIS

I’m not sure if we know this definitively, but I believe Jesus prayed this prayer in the presence of his disciples. Otherwise, how could it have ever been written down? I picture the twelve there with him and agreeing with “Amens” all along the way.

“. . . so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them.” YES, LORD! AMEN!

“. . . for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” YES, LORD! AMEN!

“. . . My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” YES, LORD! AMEN!

“. . . Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” YES, LORD! AMEN!

“. . . As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.” YES, LORD! AMEN!

It matters because we are them now. We need to bring our agreements alongside this prayer. Petitions and prayers like these, from the heart and mind of Jesus, spoken by us in agreement in the power of the Spirit. . . . well, these are the prayers that go places. They create trajectories of movement deep in our spirits and they become navigational beacons by which Jesus guides our steps to take us places we would have otherwise never gone. 

One in particular I would lift out today: “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” I love that this is verse 17:17. I want us to rememberize this one. And let’s personalize the pronouns.

“Sanctify [us] by the truth; your word is truth.” 

“Sanctify [me] by the truth; your word is truth.” 

“Sanctify [insert names of your band] by the truth; your word is truth.” 

Sanctify. The word is hagiazo, pronounced “hag-ee-ad-zo.” It’s the same word that gets translated in the Disciples Prayer as “Hallowed,” in, “Hallowed be your name.” It means make holy, which unfortunately we tend to think of as “make religious.” I think of it as asking for the Lord to make me transcendentally translucent with the brightness of the Holy Spirit in a way that the Light of God can shine in and through me with the fiery and brilliant radiance of Jesus—through the totality of who I am as an ordinary human being. To ask to be “sanctified” is to ask for one’s life to have the effect of a burning bush—on fire but not consumed; a sight which inspires the awe of God in the awakened and evokes a breathtaking curiosity in those yet asleep. 

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

We are sanctified by the truth, which is the Word of God. Now, this is the work of the Holy Spirit. But the Spirit of God works by, with, and through the Word of God. To equate this with “reading one’s Bible” is to get at it, yet still miss it. The notion here of the Word and Truth is “revelation.” It is not a flat concept of the Bible as a mere document, but the Revelation of God as a Living Word. Jesus is the Word and the Truth. Holy Scripture is the text by and through which he teaches and trains us in the power of the Spirit. We must have a larger, richer and deeper awe and appreciation for the Word of God, not as a way of increasing our knowledge but as a way of increasing our sense of knowing God, which as we saw earlier in the text, is eternal life. 

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”

THE PRAYER

Abba Father, we thank you for your son, Jesus, who perfectly brings together Word and Spirit, Grace and Truth, Prayer and Faith. Sanctify us by the truth; your word is truth. Come Holy Spirit and sanctify me, Lord. Open the eyes of my heart to perceive your vision for my sanctification. Hallow me Father until I am like Jesus at which point I will be most myself. We pray in Jesus name, Amen. 

THE QUESTIONS

  1. How are you growing in your understanding of what sanctification is? What did you used to think? What do you believe now?
  2. How do you perceive you are being sanctified by the Word of God? 
  3. Who is a person in your life or past life that strikes you as a “hallowed” person? How so? 

For the Awakening,
J.D. Walt
Sower-in-Chief
seedbed.com

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Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.

2 COMMENTS

  1. How am I growing in my understanding of sanctification? I used to think it was something that automatically took place in the believer as they attended church regularly and partook of Word and Sacrament. I’ve come to realize that it requires an active role on my part to seek and submit to the Spirit’s leading. My spiritual formation is much more intentional now. I have a deliberate time spent with God in morning prayer and meditation. I also participate in a type of class/band that meets every Sunday at our place for Bible discussion, prayer, and fellowship. It is ecumenical in that it involves active congregational members from several different Christian denominations. I’ve personally been inspired to be a bridge between various factions of the Church in an effort to fulfill Jesus’s prayer for church unity. I would classify two types of individuals as manifesting holiness. Firstly, folks like Mother Teresa who sacrificed their live in service to the poor and outcasts of society; and secondly, folks like Martin Luther and John Wesley who risked life and reputation to bring about reformation and renewal in the Church. These are the Saints I look to as examples to emulate.

  2. I just wanted to share my experience of Holy Spirit through this daily text today. I listen to the daily text on my short drive to work, and today parked while JD was nearing the prayer., so was able to pray with him. An amazing experience changed the way I prayed. Since I was in the car, when I relaxed my arms to pray, the vibration coming through the car door speakers was palpable and felt in my spirit. “Hallow me, Father until I am like Jesus at which point I will be most myself,” is still ringing through me, literally resonating with my spirit. Amen!

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