This week I continue to challenge myself and encourage others to recommit to a lifestyle of prayer. There is so much happening in our personal lives, our nation, and the world to consume our thoughts. But when we strive to imitate Christ, we can free up space in our minds to fill with the things from above. When we have the mind of Christ, we will love what Jesus loved and dislike what He disliked. Our thoughts, desires, and motives will mirror those of Jesus, including how and when we pray.

Throughout the Gospels, we find Jesus praying to God the Father. In John 17, He prays His most extended prayer recorded. Jesus is on the way to the cross, and his death is imminent. Sometime before entering the Garden of Gethsemane, He prays within earshot of the disciples and makes petitions to God the Father for Himself, His disciples, and future believers. Would you please read the Scripture and allow it to speak for itself? (John 17:1-26, NIV)

Jesus Prayed for Himself

Out of a 26-verse prayer, Jesus only takes five verses to pray for Himself, and the central theme is glory. First, Jesus prays to the Father about the work that He sent Him to do.

“After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now, this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.” (17:1-5)

Jesus Prayed for His Disciples

Jesus prays for His disciples (17:6-19). Notice the time He spends praying for the needs of His disciples. Did you sense the humbleness of His prayer? Could you feel His love for His disciples? Jesus makes these requests for His disciples.

He prayed for their protection and unity. “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.” (17:11)

He prayed that they would experience His joy. “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.” (17:13)

He prayed for their protection from Satan. “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.”  (17:15)

He prayed that they are sanctified and set apart. “They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (17:16-19)

Jesus Prayed for Future Believers

Jesus prayed for future believers (17:20-26). His prayer is an expression of His love and care for us.

Jesus prayed for the oneness and unity of believers. “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me. I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them, and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.” (17:21-23, NLT)

Are you feeling overwhelmed by the circumstances of life or that you do not have time to pray? Read John 17 and remember that Jesus prayed on the way to the cross. He is at the right hand of the God interceding for all who believe in Him. (Romans 8:34)