Do you like having a close friend? Do you like having a close friend who is praying for you? I know I’m glad when I have a close friend praying for me. What if this close friends name is Jesus. Would you want to know what he is praying for you? It must be pretty important if Jesus is praying specifically for you.
In John 17, that is exactly what is happening. Jesus starts by praying for his disciples and then his prayer changes direction.
John 17:1–3 (ESV)
1 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, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.
Before this prayer can be for you, you must make sure that you have a relationship with God through Jesus. Do you know God personally? Not, do you know about God but do you really know God intimately? This is for real. No games here. If it was just you and God in the room, would he say you know him personally? If you answer “no” and would like to know more about how to begin this relationship, please email me email@example.com. I would love to introduce you to Jesus.
John 17:5–9, 20 (ESV)
5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. 6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours… 20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word,
In this chapter, Jesus was praying for his disciples. But in verse 20 he changes his prayer to pray for US!!! If you know Jesus, you are included in Jesus’ prayer. You know when Jesus takes time to pray for us it must be important. You don’t want to miss this.
John 17:21 (ESV)
21 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.
“That they may all be one…” Jesus is praying for unity. Unity? You would think he would pray for something really big like reaching the whole world for him. But instead he prayed for unity. Let’s see what else he’s saying…
John 17:22-23 (ESV)
22 The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, 23 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.
These verses say that when we have unity the world sees God’s power and might through us. The world can truly see why we are here when we are unified. The world knows this unity is unnatural… it is supernatural and can only come from God.
Unity happens when the mission of God prevails over our own personal wishes and desires in our lives. Unity happens one person at a time as we surrender to the mission of Jesus. Unity happens when Jesus’ call on our lives to live the gospel, love the city, and be the church, override our personal agendas and plans for our lives.
Our personal preference may not be to gather on Saturday evenings. What unity looks like in this situation is to gather on Saturday evenings with a heart of gratitude and worship overcoming our personal preference in order to carry out the mission of Jesus. What does unity in the body of Christ look like from your perspective? What can you do to be unified with your local body of believers?
Think about this… through the gospels, Jesus assumes there will be growth, but prays for unity. He says the gates of hell will not prevail against the church but prays for unity. Unity must be pretty important!
Unity is when God’s children come together to accomplish his mission. When we are united, God’s power is evident. God wants to change the world through his children. Jesus prayed that you would be unified with the body of Christ. Will you answer the call?