3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: The second in a series exploring Jesus prayer of John 17. With the background layed in the first message, this message begins to explore Jesus petitions, with the first petition to "Keep/Protect." An audio copy of the message is available at no charge.

(Launched sermon by showing the passage as portrayed in recently released "The Gospel of John" movie.)

Sensed Purpose -

To prepare us for our 40 Days of Prayer by looking at some possible thoughts of what we might want to remember about prayer and include in our prayers.

Last week -

Started with the message before the message.

Asked the question: Can issues & desires for comfort in prayer (physical and spiritual comfort) decrease our concentration and ability to hear from God in our prayers?

Preview coming topic - Discerning God’s will through prayer.

Asked you to consider joining me in a self-invoked challenge of committing to leave my comfort zone during 40 DOP -

- Fasting

- Prayer Teams/Praying with Others/Not Alone

- Daily Prayer Calendar

- The 1 Thessalonians challenge - Pray without ceasing

Lots of conversational text, but only three requests for us.

Sub lesson: ratio of conversation with God in prayer versus requests for God.

Each request/petition is repeated at least once.

Remember who the petitions/prayers are for?

Verse 9 - Those given to His care. (Notice repetition: "Those you have given me.")

And then for those who come to believe because of them.

Important prayer focus, those given to our care:

Names on ephod (Exodus 28:5-12).

- Sunday School Teachers: for your class

- Small Group Hosts and Leaders: for your members

- Pastor: for the congregation (Connection Cards, Three for God Cards, etc.)

Finally, we explored the primary duties for those in positions of spiritual leadership -

As described in Acts, ministering the Word of God and prayer.

Today we want to begin to answer the question:

What are the three petitions Jesus makes

& repeats in this prayer?

First Petition - KEEP/PROTECT (NIV)

v. 11, 12 ("guarded them"), 15

tayreho: to attend to carefully, to guard (11 & 12a): i.e. watching my daughter Allie at an Upward game

foolasso: to guard lest he suffer violence, or be snatched away (12b): i.e. watching my daughter Allie at a UK game.

Interesting twist to verses 14 & 15

World and Us, Us and the World. Logic would suggest prayer to protect us from the world. . .but Jesus prays protection from "the evil one."

Harm comes through the world, but it is from the enemy, the evil one, Satan. (Ephesians 6:10-12)

The problem - We don’t wrestle with flesh and blood, but what we do wrestle with often takes up residence in flesh and blood.

Prayer is spiritual warfare

Psalm 55

Prayer is spiritual warfare.

Prayer should not be equated with comfort because warfare is not comfortable. (Share Iraq war images.)

Do we think spiritual warfare is cleaner? More sterile?

Broad spectrum of belief in Spiritual Warfare - even at SWC.

I’m guilty of holding back my beliefs on this topic.

I have really bit my tongue on this one.

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones:

A man who does not understand the nature of the problem he is confronting is a man who is already doomed to failure. Christian people are like first-year college students, they think at first that every subject is quite simple, there is no difficulty. Well, we know what is likely to happen to such when they face an examination! The first thing you have to do is to understand the nature and character of your problem. So we have to realize

that we are called, in the Christian life, to a battle, not to a life of ease; to a battle, to a warfare, to a wrestle, to a struggle.

This heavenly warfare is a conflict that took all of 19 verses to unfold in Genesis.

Just 19 versus from a happy garden to all out war for the loyalty & obedience of man.

It is a conflict that can be found in every book of God’s Word. Some examples:

- Exodus 32:17-35

- 2 Timothy 2:1-4

- 1 Peter 2:11-12

It is a conflict that Jesus knows is about to overwhelm the disciples. (i.e. Peter’s denial, all the disciples fear, believers on the run).

In fact, it is a conflict that comes to the forefront in Jesus time, and seems to amp up to a new level at that point in history.

It is a conflict that is overwhelming the church today. Don’t believe it? Join me for a week, and sit in on some of the meetings I attend w/ pastors.

- Example this week of Wesleyan Pastor’s Family

Would logic dictate that this conflict would lessen

with the passing of time, or increase?

On the edge of Jesus own death,

it is a conflict that He is praying about.

Prayer is spiritual warfare - warfare is not comfortable

- It is bloody (Matthew 17:14-21)

- There are casualties (seminary grads out of the ministry. . .been there, done that)

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