The Real Lord’s Prayer (Part 3)

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August 10, 2018

John 17:20-26

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 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.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 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.”

CONSIDER THIS

We began this prayer series with the Ascension of Jesus to the  right hand of God to take up his work as the chief intercessor of heaven and earth. We end with his intercession for us as recorded in his high priestly prayer. And what a prayer it is:

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

It’s pretty interesting. He doesn’t pray for us to evangelize the whole world. He doesn’t pray for us to end poverty or create world peace or otherwise save the planet. He is not even praying for us to make disciples of all nations. To be sure, these are all top level concerns, but when Jesus has the opportunity to say a lengthy prayer in the hearing of a soon to be Apostle who would write it down for all posterity he doesn’t pray for the kinds of things typically characterizing our prayers. He prays for our relationships with each other. He prays,

“that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.”

In other words, Jesus prays for my relationship with you to have the self-same quality and essence of his relationship to the Father. Taking it a step further, he adds to the prayer for us, saying, “May they also be in us.” 

Why this? Again, he makes it pretty clear:

“so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

If I’m reading this right, according to Jesus, the mission of God to save the world depends on the quality of relationships among his followers. It makes sense. A few minutes earlier, after washing his disciples feet, Jesus told them, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

“so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Doesn’t it stand to reason that Jesus major prayer focus to the present day centers around the relationships among his followers? If this is so, doesn’t it follow that our major prayer focus should center around our relationships within the Body of Christ? After all, this matter of peace in our relationships is a major focus of the Disciples Prayer.

We exert so much prayer and expend so much energy around our mission efforts to do this, that and the other to the end of seeking God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Might Jesus be saying he will take care of expanding his Kingdom in the world if we will focus on seeking his kingdom within our relationships in the Body of Christ?

It’s yet another reason we focus so much of our mission bandwidth at Seedbed to calling the followers of Jesus to “band” together. It just may be the most significant sowing for a great awakening we can do.

THE PRAYER

Almighty Ascended Lord Jesus Christ, you are high and exalted yet nearer than our breath. Thank you for this powerful prayer you prayed for us. Thank you that you have been praying for us ever since. Draw us into the gravity of your praying and in doing so draw us together into the kind of relationship you enjoy with our Father—so that the world will believe. Right here, Jesus. Right now, Jesus. Amen.

THE QUESTIONS

  1. Are we focusing our sense of mission as the church in the wrong direction?
  2. How do the broken relationships in your life harm or compromise your witness to others?
  3. Is there a broken relationship in your life that needs to become front and center in your praying agenda?

P. S. We begin a new series on Monday—We will go back to our familiar pattern of working through a book of the Bible. This time it will be The Gospel of Mark. I’m calling the series, “The Gospel of the Holy Spirit.” Please invite family, friends, your pastor, Sunday School Class, bowling league, bridge club, soccer team, and so forth, to join us. Scripture Reads Better Together.

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

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

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