Most people with any Christian background are familiar with what is often called The Lord’s Prayer. In fact, Bibles that have subtitles in the chapters even title the passages in Matthew 6 and Luke 11 as The Lord’s Prayer. But this was merely an example of how to pray. For more on this topic, see this post.
But to see what Jesus’ prayer really is, we turn to an entire chapter where He is talking directly with the Father, John 17. Here we see the heart of Christ as He makes His final petition to the Father on our behalf. His entire prayer is about us, His disciples. “ I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” (v 9)
Jesus knew that with Him returning to the Father and no longer being present among His disciples, they would need more protection from the evil one. “I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (v 15-17) Despite the fact that He was about to face the worst few days of His human lifetime, His entire petition is for us. His eyes are only on us, His bride.
His prayer was not limited to those disciple He physically spent time with, but anyone who would eventually come to faith as a result of them sharing the Gospel story. “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” ( 20-21)
The final cry out to the Father is really for the ultimate amount of Grace. “O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.” (v 25-26)
Although Jesus is about to end His earthly ministry, He says ‘I will continue’. His continuing will not be in flesh but in Spirit, through those who knew Him in the flesh. Jesus would continue His ministry through them, and eventually through us.
Imagine the power of your prayer, if instead of praying about the challenges or woes you face, your only petition was for the others in your life. Even more, if you prayed for everyone they would influence. Imagine praying for the entire sphere of influence of everyone you know. Rather than concerning yourself with the woes of this world, your only focus was the relationship people had with the Father. Now that would be a powerful prayer example to follow. That is truly the Lord’s Prayer.
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