In John 17, Jesus said He would no longer be in the world, but these disciples for whom He was praying would remain behind to fulfill the assignment. Jesus concluded His prayer with these significant words: “O Righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name” (17:25, 26). By the Father’s command Jesus prayed for these disciples and did not pray for the world. The focus of His prayer is vital, for it shows us how we are to pray, so that like Jesus our praying will affect the world.
Jesus prayed to the Father for His disciples as follows:
- “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth” (17:17).
- “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (17:18).
- “I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one” (17:15).
Then came the key to the plan by which God purposed to save the world: “[I pray] that they may be one, as You, Father are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me ” (17:21). The world would believe the truth of John 3:16—as the disciples remained in a love relationship with Jesus and the Father, the Father’s heart for redeeming a lost world would become the life work and passion of the disciples. As we read Scripture we see that the disciples did remain in the Father’s will, just as Jesus prayed for them, and the entire Roman empire was radically changed as a result (Acts 17:6).
Lord Jesus, as You and the Father are One, make Your Church one body functioning in the beauty of the unity that You share, so that through the power of the Holy Spirit, the world will believe in You and be radically changed!
–Adapted from Chapter 61 of Giving Ourselves to Prayer: An Acts 6:4 Primer for Ministry (The Bible and Global Prayer) by Henry Blackaby. This resource is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise God, who “so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Jn. 3:16). Thank God for those who led you to Christ. Confess that you are sometimes afraid to introduce others to Christ. Commit yourself to building friendships with people who do not know Jesus. Ask God to help you identify a friend who might be open to conversion.
Ponder in prayer what it will be like when “all the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the LORD” (Ps. 22:27). Pray for the coming of that day.
“Prayer is not merely an occasional impulse to which we respond when we are in trouble: prayer is a life attitude.” —Walter A. Mueller
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