“JESUS PRAYS FOR HIMSELF” John 17:1-5
INTRO – (“WE BELIEVE” video) As a church, we believe in prayer. We talk about it a lot. We practice it a lot. We encourage others to participate in it a lot. We hold to the understanding that it is something that we should practice all the time, not just occasionally, infrequently, intermittently, or sparingly. We believe it ought to be an every day discipline, not just a Sunday morning activity.
We believe in prayer.
– Our deacons gather every Sunday AM to pray.
– The church gathers together every Wed. evening to pray during REFRESH.
– As we approach our upcoming revival, we will be saturating that event in prayer w/ prayer meeting in different church members’ home throughout the week prior to revival.
– We will also have a 24-hour prayer vigil starting on Sat., Aug. 16, which will lead right up to actual moment that we begin the revival services.
– We will have people praying during every revival service, just like we have a team of deacons praying during every Sunday AM worship gathering.
We believe in prayer.
– John Piper: “Prayer is the open admission that without Christ we can do nothing. And prayer is the turning away from ourselves to God in the confidence that He will provide the help we need. Prayer humbles us as needy and exalts God as wealthy.”
– E.M. Bounds: “What the Church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organizations or more novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use–men of prayer, men mighty in prayer.”
– Robert E. Lee: “Knowing that intercessory prayer is our mightiest weapon and the supreme call for all Christians today, I pleadingly urge our people everywhere to pray. Believing that prayer is the greatest contribution that our people can make in this critical hour, I humbly urge that we take time to pray–to really pray. Let there be prayer at sunup, at noonday, at sundown, at midnight–all through the day. Let us all pray for our children, our youth, our aged, our pastors, our homes. Let us pray for our churches. Let us pray for ourselves, that we may not lose the word ‘concern’ out of our Christian vocabulary. Let us pray for our nation. Let us pray for those who have never known Jesus Christ and redeeming love, for moral forces everywhere, for our national leaders. Let prayer be our passion. Let prayer be our practice.”
We believe in prayer. Not b/c John Piper, great pastor & theologian of our day believes in it. Not b/c E.M. Bounds, a theologian from days gone by believed in it. Not b/c Robert E. Lee, great leader of our nation from long ago, believed in it. We don’t even believe in it b/c our parents, grandparents, SS teachers, pastors, & ministers taught us to believe in it. We believe in it b/c Jesus Christ Himself believed in it. He taught it. And, here in John 17, we hear Him pouring out His heart in prayer to His Father.
John 17 is known as the High Priestly Prayer. Wiersbe: “Whether He prayed it in the Upper Room or en route to the Garden, this much is sure: it is the greatest prayer recorded anywhere in Scripture. John 17 is certainly the ‘holy of holies’ of the Gospel record, & we must approach this chapter in a spirit of humility & worship.” It is divided up into 3 sections that we will cover over the next 3 Sundays. It is simply amazing & astounding to immerse yourself in these 26 verses as we hear the heart of our Lord being poured out in prayer. Dr. Joe McKeever shared this concise outline of John 17 w/ me:
– v. 1-3 The greatest gift ever given: eternal life.
– v. 1-5 The greatest work ever finished
– v. 6-8 The greatest knowledge ever revealed.
– v. 9-12 The greatest security ever offered.
– v. 13-19 The greatest responsibility ever given.
– v. 20-26 The greatest future ever promised.
What better way for us to know how WE are to pray than by hearing exactly how Jesus prayed! Think about some of the other prayers that Jesus prayed during His earthly ministry:
– Matt. 6:9-13 – The Model Prayer or The Disciples’ Prayer
– John 11:41-42 – When He raised Lazarus from the dead: “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”
– Luke 22:32 – He prayed for Peter: “But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.”
– Luke 22:42 – “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”
– Luke 23:54 – “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”
What themes do we see in these prayers & in this prayer in John 17?
– The glory of God
– The will of God
– The plan of God
So let’s ask 3 questions about our own prayer lives as we think about Jesus’ prayer life:
IS THE GLORY OF GOD YOUR PRIMARY FOCUS? It certainly was in the life of Jesus. The burden that we hear Jesus voicing in this prayer in John 17 is that the glory of God would be realized in His finished work on the cross. This was His first & foremost request, & it ought to be ours as well.
The word “glorify” or “glory” is used 5 times in these 1st 5 verses.
– v. 5 – Refers to the glory He had w/ God the Father before He came to earth. This is the glory that He laid down to come to us to be born, to live, to serve, to suffer, & to die. This is what Paul wrote about in Phil. 2:5-8 when He said, “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross.” (NLT)
– v. 4 – Jesus brought glory to God by finishing the work that God gave to Him which culminated on the cross.
– v. 1, 5 – Jesus asked that the glory He had w/ God before He came to earth be given to Him again so that He might glorify God again in His return to heaven.
Ray Stedman: “We must understand what this term “glorified” means. How is someone “glorified”? The word means to make manifest hidden values, hidden riches. The sun is a glory because the gases that make it up are being consumed and manifested in brilliant light. Jesus himself is glorified that way. John began his gospel by saying, “The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, … and we beheld his glory,” (John 1:14a, 1:14b RSV). What glory? “Full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14b RSV). All his inner qualities of grace and truth became visible. Here our Lord is praying that by means of the cross something that is hidden to the world will be manifested.”
IS THE WILL OF GOD YOUR PRIMARY MOTIVATION? God’s will for Jesus was that He would be the ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He would pay that price that we could not pay. As Paul said in the Phil. 2 passage we read, Jesus “humbled Himself in obedience to God & died a criminal’s death on a cross.”
What is God’s will for our lives? Simple obedience to His commands & His Word.
IS THE PLAN OF GOD YOUR PRIMARY ACTIVITY? The plan of God from the beginning of time has been to have a people who are His very own. And that’s what we as the Church are. 1 Peter 2:9 – “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
The plan of God for our lives as His people is that we would proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called us out of darkness into His marvelous light! Is THAT the primary activity of your life?
CONCLUSION: Let me ask those 3 questions again:
– Is the glory of God your primary focus?
– Is the will of God your primary motivation?
– Is the plan of God your primary activity?
Sounds like we need to pray!