John 17:1-5 – When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Jesus’ prayer in John 17 models life-changing, burden-lifting, hope-giving truth. This prayer is the longest recorded prayer we have from Jesus Christ. It is commonly referred to as Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer because He takes the place of the High Priest entering the spiritual holy of holies through prayer, interceding for sinners before the Father.
This lengthy prayer does not appear in the synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) but is recorded in John’s Gospel alone. Had John not included Jesus’ prayer, we would be without any record of this great and vital moment in world history.
The first section of the prayer highlights Jesus praying for Himself. Some people struggle to pray for themselves for a variety of reasons. But if Jesus prayed for Himself and was perfect, it is perfectly good for you to do the same and pray for yourself. If you’re struggling with how to do this, here are eight ways you can pray for yourself.
- Pray to live “kingdom down”: This world is not normal, home, or forever. We can look up to God or down on others. Truth, love, forgiveness, and servanthood are how we invite the Holy Spirit and heaven down into our lives. Lies, hatred, bitterness, and selfishness are how we pull unholy spirits and hell up into our lives.
- Pray to deepen your relationship with God: Does God care about you? Yes: He’s your Father! Does God listen to you? Yes: He’s your Father! Does He want to help you? Yes: your Dad does!
- Pray to prepare yourself for big changes: And as we learned in the Gethsemane Prayer, Jesus did not pray to get out of hardship; He prayed to get through it. For Christians, the way to keep going is to keep praying.
- Pray to glorify God in all you do: We are God’s mirror. When Genesis says we were made in God’s “image,” it means that when God looks at our lives, He should be able to see Himself reflected in our character and conduct.
- Pray to exercise your authority: Positionally, we are in Christ. Practically, Christ is in us through the Holy Spirit. Being in Christ means that just as the Father has given authority to Christ, Christ has given authority to Christians. When we pray, we are inviting the unseen realm to flood our seen realm, bringing the presence of God to empower our lives.
- Pray to live in light of eternity: Some people are not interested in heaven because it sounds hellish to them. According to Jesus, eternal life is life with God. It is knowing God, being connected to God, enjoying a relationship with God. Sadly, when eternal life is seen only as a place, the focus on God is lost. The truth is that although heaven is a glorious place, it would be hell if God were not present there.
- Pray to clarify God’s will for you: God invites us to faithfulness, not busyness. Being like Christ does not mean keeping ourselves busy and asking God to bless our frantic lives. Instead, we need to start with prayer and discover what God’s will is for us. Then we can say yes to what we should be doing by saying no to lots of other things we could be doing.
- Pray to experience God’s presence: Jesus tells us that in this life, we will suffer as He did. Therefore, our hope is not to escape suffering but to find God’s will in the midst of it. If you cannot get out of tough circumstances, God’s presence can get you through them, and that is exactly what Jesus asks the Father for.
Jesus models for us the truth that before we can live a life that glorifies God, we need to spend time in heartfelt prayer to know what will glorify God, and then receive the Spirit’s power to press forward until God is glorified.
- How about you? How should you be praying for yourself?
- What opportunities has God given you to glorify Him, even by enduring hardship, pain, and injustice?
- Do you know what God has called you to do? Are you doing it?
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