The Real Lord’s Prayer (Part 2)

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August 9, 2018

John 17:11-19

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

In my experience over the course of my life, I would estimate that 90% of the prayer requests and prayers I have heard have been about keeping someone or some group of people safe. The other half have been related to cancer. Whether people follow Jesus or even believe in God, when they come face to face with their vulnerability they become desperate for security and protection.

We realize our vulnerability and need for protection yet we are far more vulnerable than we even realize. The world is a dangerous place. I have never noticed until now the emphasis Jesus places on protection in his high priestly prayer.

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 world is a dangerous place, especially for the followers of Jesus. It is dangerous because it has the capacity to absolutely neutralize and eviscerate our witness and effectiveness as Christians. This is why Jesus leads us in the Disciples Prayer to say, “Lead us not into temptation.”

The world is a dangerous place, especially for those followers of Jesus who are making a real play with their lives for the Kingdom of God and against the Evil One. The world is not so dangerous on this count because of its seductive temptations (though they be ever-present) but because of the nature of Satanic treachery. This is why Jesus leads us in the Disciples prayer to say, “Deliver us from the Evil One.”

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

Satan is real. And if you aren’t under attack or drawing enemy fire in some form or fashion, chances are you aren’t in the real game. It’s interesting how a lot of people consider their financially prosperous and relatively pain free lives a sign of God’s blessing. Certainly it can be, but in the cases I’m thinking of these people are not even in the stadium, much less on the playing field. (And no, I’m not thinking of you!) ;0)

In the prayer, Jesus gets at how we are protected from the evil one.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of it.

Though it may be a cliche’ it is a solidly biblical one: If we would be protected from the Evil One, we must learn to live “in the world but not of the world.” Why? Because there is no protection for living “of the world.” To live in the world and of the world is to live in a state of exposure and vulnerability. It does not mean that God has withdrawn his protection as much as we have run out of bounds. We have left the perimeter of his protection. It makes sense that Jesus would take his prayer a step further

17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 

We are not immune from attack anywhere at any time, but attacks can be weathered and withstood as we remain in the protective perimeter of the truth of the Word of God. To sanctify means to set apart as holy unto the Lord. God does this in us and for us through the truth of his Word. There is a form of false holiness that tries to withdraw from the world. The strategy of not being “of the world” for them means not being “in the world.”

The way of Jesus, which is the way of the Cross, is to press deeper and deeper into the world while becoming less and less of the world. This is the meaning of true holiness. False holiness looks like being set apart “from” the world. True holiness looks like being set apart right in the midst of the world. The impulse of false holiness is to protect oneself from the world. The instincts of true holiness is to trust God for protection in the world.

We have all the resources of the Word, the Spirit, the Church and the Kingdom. By these we are sanctified, equipped, preserved, held, kept, strengthened, empowered, healed, restored, emboldened and and yes, protected. And all of this to such a degree we can stand with the Saints (a.k.a. “Holy Ones”) brandishing our scars and declaring,

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Let’s put a pin in it for today and finish the race tomorrow with Part 3 of the Real Lord’s Prayer, which will conclude our Daily Text prayer series.

THE PRAYER

Almighty Ascended Lord Jesus Christ, you are high and exalted yet nearer than our breath. We are desperate for your protection. Forgive me for all the ways I protect myself. Grace me to trust your protection. And teach me the way of being sanctified by the truth of your Word. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. How much of your praying is consumed with concerns of safety and security of yourself and others?
  2. Have you experienced what it means to be under the attack of the Evil One? What do you think merited that attack or drew his fire? How did you withstand it?
  3. What is your experience of being sanctified by the truth of God’s Word? How has or is God’s Word revealing your blindspots and vulnerabilities to attack?

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

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