Jesus truly prayed without ceasing during His time here on earth. Have you ever wondered what Jesus prayed about? More so, what were His last words to His disciples before His death on the cross? John 17 gives us a glimpse into each of these questions! Within this chapter, we find exactly what Jesus prayed. We also find that His beautiful prayer, before His death, was full of amazing truth concerning God’s own heart for us– His children here on earth.
In John 17, we have been left with a powerful prayer from the mouth of Jesus Himself. He makes
very bold statements about who He is and who we are as children of God! There’s so much to discover about what God’s hopes and plans for us on this earth are, as we read Jesus’ prayer of preparation for His death, resurrection and re-ascension to the Father.
To truly grasp this prayer, it’s wise to step back and understand what’s happening contextually. In the Gospel of John, chapters 13-17, are a compilation of Jesus' final words to His disciples before He dies. He is preparing them for what He’s told them in parables for so long. He’s letting them know that this is it and it’s time! The end of His ministry on earth has come, that by the Spirit of the Lord, it may begin again through the disciples.
Jesus delivers His final words during the last supper that He and His disciples will share with one another. This last supper occurs during the time of the Passover feast and further establishes the gospel writers’ claim that Jesus IS the Passover Lamb.
In these precious last few moments together, Jesus says and does many profound things that hold great significance in raising the disciples to continue His work:
He washes their feet, to display God’s nature of servitude that they must take on to represent Him (John 13:1-17).
He tells them that He will send the Holy Spirit, who will be a Helper to them (John 14:15-18).
He lets them know that the only way that they can truly produce the fruit of the Children of God is to remain in Him through His love (John 15:1-8).
And finally, He prays for Himself, then for His disciples and then lovingly extends that prayer to all who will come to believe in Him– that’s us! (John 17).
As I read this prayer while reflecting on our current times, I find I can “be of good cheer” knowing Jesus has overcome the world and prays for our empowerment to do so, as well.
In what is a time of division, I thankfully write that He prayed for the unity and oneness of His true church, made possible by our unity and oneness with He and the Father! (John 17:1-23) The unity of His body is dependent on oneness with Him!
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.”
In a time where darkness seeks to cover the world, we can rejoice because He so boldly stated that we are not of this world in THE SAME WAY that He is not of this world (John 17:6,14, and 16).
In a time of lies and confusion, we can rest in Jesus because He prayed that we would be set apart by truth (John 17:11-12) and kept through the Word and Name of God our Father, from whom we are begotten of (John 17:15 and 17).
In a time where many are lost and enslaved to sickness, fear, sin, disbelief and doubt we’re confident, because He sent US the Children of God, in the SAME WAY that the Father sent Him! We too are called to destroy the works of the devil and display the works of the Father, just as He did, through our oneness with Him by the power of the Holy Spirit within us!
And finally, in a time where the world is full of hate and violence, He prayed that we would be full of the love that the Father has for the Son! He states that the Father loves us, in the same way that He loves the Son.
We are so equipped for life in this world as the sons and daughters of God. This is what Jesus prayed and what He has not ceased to pray for us at the right hand of the Father, as He continues the work of the kingdom through us.