The Real Lord’s Prayer (Part 1)

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August 8, 2018

John 17:1-10

17 After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

6 “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. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 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. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them.

CONSIDER THIS

Finally, we come to the ninth prayer of Jesus, the real Lord’s Prayer. Biblical interpreters commonly refer to this prayer as Jesus’ high priestly prayer.

Among all of Jesus’ prayers, I find this one harder to appropriate in my own praying. It is Jesus’ prayer and one he prays in a truly unique way. While it may not lend itself to a model for our praying, there are elements here that will inform our prayers.

We come to the end of the prayers only to discover they lead us back to the starting place. For starters, note how Jesus rehearses the fundamental fundamental in this conversation with his Father.

Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.

Remember, the big change most of us need is not from less prayer to more prayer, which can be occasioned by making technical changes at the level of our practice. We need transformative change. We need to make the shift from the whole idea of a better “prayer life” to the consuming reality of a “life of prayer.”

It is not about so much about asking for this and that as it is walking in close abiding fellowship with God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Eternal life means walking with God in a life of prayer.

For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them.

The most prominent word in the prayer appears fourteen times in one form or another: Gave. The value system of the world runs by reciprocity. Reciprocity means a form of exchange that moves backwards and forwards. You scratch my back. I’ll scratch yours. It works along the same lines of debts and credits.

The Kingdom of God does not work by reciprocity. It moves by generosity. It is not backwards and forwards but downward and upward. Prayer moves us into the realm of giving and receiving. God will be neither our debtor or our creditor. God will be God. The Gospel is our God is extraordinarily and extravagantly generous beyond our wildest imagination. Jesus Christ is the generosity of God.

I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.

The second most prominent word in the prayer, appearing no less than nine times, is glory. Generosity is a downward movement. Glory is the upward movement. God freely gives to us. His aim is not so we would give something back to him, but freely give to others. As the generosity of God becomes our generosity toward others, the glory goes up.

God is not so much glorified by our saying or singing “glory to God,” as when our giving is filled with God’s generosity. People will thank us, but they will know beyond knowing there is far more than us to thank. Glory comes when our gratitude for God’s generosity becomes our generosity toward others. It is in our life of prayer where we remember and rehearse this generosity. Note how Jesus does it:

All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.

If we could wrap our mind, hearts, soul and strength around these eleven words, everything would change. I don’t mean agree with them or assent to them or otherwise run them up the flagpole and salute them. I mean own them. Eat them. Stake your life upon them.

All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.

And by all means, make them your prayer for these words are themselves the very bedrock of prayer. The power of our prayers will grow as the potency of our faith in this truth deepens.

Start by saying them with me now:

All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.

Out loud!

All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.

THE PRAYER

Almighty Ascended Lord Jesus Christ, you are high and exalted yet nearer than our breath. Thank you for this deep truth you revealed to us in your prayer to Abba Father. All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. Thank you that it is as true for us as it is for you. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. “All I have is yours, and all you have is mine.” On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being highest. Rate your level of faith in this truth?
  2. “Glory comes when our gratitude for God’s generosity becomes our generosity toward others.” What do you make of the connections between generosity and gratitude and glory. How do you see that working itself out in a practical way?
  3. How are you making the shift from a “prayer life” to a “life of prayer?”

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J.D. Walt, is a Bond Slave of the Lord Jesus Christ. jd.walt@seedbed.com.

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