40 Days of Prayer: Day 13
Today’s blog was written by W. Daniel Smith, DMin. It is part one of a series on Jesus’ Prayer from John 17.
“Jesus Prays for Himself”
The story is told of a preacher who was shaking hands at the door of the church after his Sunday morning sermon. One outspoken member of the congregation thanked the pastor for both messages. “But I only preached once this morning,” he gently corrected. “Well, pastor, I meant the one you preached and the one you prayed.”
There are times when we pray, that our prayers are only meant for God’s ears. And then there are other times we purposely direct our prayers because we know others are listening. As a pastor and preacher there have been times that I have been guilty of speaking a prayer in church for the sole purpose of attempting to place conviction or elicit a certain response from the hearer. Now, before you say, “Shame on you,” we’ve all done the same thing with our children at times. “What does he mean,” you might be asking yourself. How many times have we prayed with our kids and slipped in little words of encouragement, “Dear Lord I thank you for my son Will. I thank you for the young man that You are growing him into. I pray that you would please encourage him to understand the need for accepting greater responsibility in his life…” Yep, now you understand what I’m talking about.
â€‹Obviously, not all cooperate prayers are spoken for selfish gain. Jesus’ prayer in John 17 was meant to be heard in order bring peace, hope and comfort to His disciples, because He had just finished telling them He would not always be with them.
â€‹“But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away…” (John 16:7a)
The disciples needed comforting, and nothing brings comfort more than talking to our Heavenly Father.â€‹
Jesus begins his prayer in John 17 with a very important lesson, He prays for Himself.
â€‹ After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:
“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. 2 For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. 3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.
Too often, I fear, our personal prayers to God end up sounding more like a Christmas wish list, “Dear Lord I need _______,” or a bargaining plea, “Dear Heavenly Father, if you will do ______ then I will do ______.” All of us, if we’re honest, can fill in these blanks. In these first 5 verses Jesus prays for himself with the desire of Glorifying God the Father. Everything Jesus did in His Earthly life was done to serve, honor and glorify The Father. How often do we pray solely with the desire for an opportunity to glorify the Father?
3 Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. 4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do.
How often in our daily lives are we glorifying God through finishing the work He has given us to do? As we pray, may it not be with selfish ambition, but rather may we pray with a heart’s desire to serve our Heavenly Father.
Thank you for reading. Now, please go to our Prayer Wall and pray for the requests. You can also add your own prayer request or testimony there.