Thursday, May 19, 2011

The High Priestly Prayer of Jesus (John 17:1-26)

I read this article this morning and found it very helpful in understanding the prayer life of Jesus and how we should pray as well:

Here are a few of the things I noted:

1. Jesus' prayers were to His Father.  He modeled to us that we have an intimate Father who hears us and desires to hear us.  What good news it is that our prayers are not falling on deaf ears but reach the highest Advocate and Power in the universe - God the Father.  That brings confidence and boldness in prayer.

2.  Jesus' prayer followed preaching the word.  These two must never be separated.  Great prayer must go into preaching and great preaching must precede, accompany, or follow prayer.  For me to preach without prayer is foolishness.  For me to converse with my Father and then have nothing to preach to those around me means I really didn't hear from the Lord.  After all, who wouldn't have something to say to men after spending time in prayer with the Lord?

3.  Jesus' High Priestly Prayer preceded His prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus modeled public prayer and then private prayer.  He modeled how to pray when in great pain and how to pray so edify and teach others.  If we truly want to know how to pray we must study the prayers of Jesus.

4.  Jesus' prayer sought glory for Himself ONLY so glory would be given to God.  This should be our prayer also.  The only reason we should ever desire the spotlight, attention, or special recognition is so we can point it all right back to God.  He alone should get the glory.  He alone should be lifted up.  If we pray elaborate prayers so others will look at how great we can pray or how many big words we can throw in there (even at how much scripture we know) then God will not get any glory because we robbed it from Him.  In that moment of stealing God's glory we have our reward but no one has grown closer to the Lord and we stiff-armed God from moving.  Our motivation and purpose in prayer should be to glorify God.

5.  Jesus' prayer defined eternal life in terms of discipleship.  How can fully know God at the moment of salvation?  One must spend a lifetime growing in Christ from the moment of conversion.  A life that does not grow consistently and progressively in Christ does not glorify God. 

6.  Jesus' prayer modeled not so much the form of one's prayer but the principles that are behind it.  Features such as length, repetition, setting, and structure of prayer are less important to Jesus than the necessities of features like submission to God, desire to glorify Him, and the anticipation of intimacy with the Father.  God isn't interested in lengthy prayers if they don't glorify Him.  He isn't interested in prayers that start and end properly if they aren't submitted to Him.  Prayers can be designed to teach others to pray but if they don't connect with the heart of the Father then they are only words to mere men and not the Almighty.

Read this article if you have time.  It will bless your prayer life.  I pray your prayers and lifestyle glorify Him.

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