During Christ’s final night on earth we are permitted to enter into the most intimate conversation between a Son and his Father. How John the Apostle was able to “eavesdrop” on the cherished words of Jesus as He prayed to God the Father will perhaps always remain a mystery. Nevertheless, this snippet of dialogue I find to be of great significance.
A quick read of this Father/Son communion reveals that Jesus’ prayer focuses on three main parts. First, Jesus prays for himself which is understandable when we realize the suffering that he is about to endure for our sakes (vv 1-5). Yet, this section of his prayer is the shortest of the 26 verses. Second, the major portion of this prayer concentrates on Jesus’ most cherished disciples (vv 6-19). The ones who will carry on Christ’s message and proclaim the significance of what they will unwittingly witness in only a few hours. However, it is the third part of Jesus’ prayer (vv 20-26) that continues to astound me – Jesus praying for all who would eventually follow him. I have trouble getting my head around the concept that the Creator of the universe, the One who freely gave of himself for my sin, actually would take the time to pray for me. And above it all, he specifically prays that you and I would be where he is so that we can drink in his glory (v 24). Unmerited favour indeed!
The spectacle of our God praying for us, our ultimate Prayer Warrior, did not stop with John 17. We know from Romans 8:26 that our Saviour still intercedes for us, especially when we find it difficult to pray: “In the same way the Spirit also joins to help in our weakness, because we do not know what to pray for as we should, but the Spirit Himself intercedes for us with unspoken groanings” (HCSB).
This season of Lent we are reminded that our time of worship and reflection is not one-sided. There is One who intercedes for us just as he did the night before his crucifixion. Now that’s a Prayer Warrior like no other!
Melfort Evangelical Covenant Church