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Jul
09

Praying Like Jesus Prayed

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We often refer to the Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13) as the Model Prayer. It’s true that Jesus gave this to us as a blueprint for the prayers we offer to God. Another example of prayer is found in Jesus’ intercessory prayer in John 17:1-26. Within this prayer that Jesus offered on the night of his betrayal are four important requests that also serve as a pattern for prayer.

The first request is for the glory of God (John 17:1-5). This request was for the revealed presence of God that puts all things in perspective. Our first consideration when we come to God in prayer is God, not us or anything else. What does God will? What will honor God? What will make God’s name honored? It has been said that we have not really begun to pray until we have prayed for the glory of God.

Request number two is for followers of Christ to have a confident faith (John 17:6-12). Those disciples that followed Jesus would face incredible persecution during the passion of Christ and following his ascension. Confident faith comes through immersing ourselves in Scripture, through our relationship to God as his children, and through his name by which he grants to us his authority.

The next request is for holiness (John 17:13-19). Jesus prayed that his disciples would be set apart from the values of this world by his word for the sake of the world. Holiness that only focuses on separation usually defaults to legalism. Holiness is always purposeful. In our case, holiness is for the sake of the world in which we live. Like a great meal served on fine china, holiness is our presentation of the treasure of the gospel.

The final request Jesus made was for the unity of all believers (John 17:20-26). There’s a lot of talk about unity in religious circles. I’m not convinced that those who speak of unity are all speaking of the same thing. Unity is not uniformity which crushes diversity. Unity is not organizational, but organic. It’s not institutional, but is observable. It’s not reaching for the lowest common denominator. The problem with reaching unity through lowest common denominators is that lowest common denominators always elevate self. The highest common denominator, God and his glory, always diminishes self.

How do we achieve unity? How do we pray for unity? When we pray for unity, what are we praying for? We find unity in our common message of the gospel (17:20), in our common source for living in dependence upon God’s power (17:21), by striving for our common purpose as we humbly serve the marginalized and neglected (17:22), by sharing in the common spirit of love which becomes our chief tool of influence (17:23), and holding to the common goal of eternal glory in heaven wherein we recognize that all that we do here and now is for then and there (17:24).

Let me invite you to use these four requests in your prayer life this week. See how it shapes the requests that you offer to our God.

Categories : John 17, Prayer

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