Summary: This is an expositional study on the passage commonly known as the "High Priestly Prayer." If you tke the time to read through this it will truly touch you. I pray that God will use this study to change your heart in many different ways.
The passage of chapter 17 verses 1-26 in the book of John is widely known as the “High Priestly Prayer.” Within these verses Jesus is praying to the Father. “Though this prayer, unlike the one found in Matthew, was not spoken deliberately for the purpose of giving instruction in this spiritual exercise, it never the less was a witness to the disciples and a revelation of the mind of Christ” (Harrison 99). All through Jesus’ ministry He spoke of His unique intimacy with the Father. “All things have been handed over to Me by My Father; and no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matt. 11:27). This prayer confirms His testimony. “Four words summarize the main requests in this prayer: glory, security, sanctity, and unity” (Wiersbe 14). The prayer could be outlined into three sections: Jesus prayed for Himself (1-5), Jesus prayed for His disciples (6-19), and Jesus prayed for the whole church (20-26).
In verses 1-5, Jesus is praying for Himself. He is requesting that the Father grant Him the glory that He once had before the world was, but emptied Himself of when He came to the world, to identify with humanity. In verse 1 we see five main points. “Lifting up His eyes to Heaven…” This statement implies that our posture in prayer is not important. The verse doesn’t tell us whether Jesus was sitting or standing. All it says is that He lifted His eyes to heaven. He is also found communing with the Father as He raises His eyes to Heaven in John 11:41. “Most people bow their heads and close their eyes when they pray, but Jesus lifted His head and focused His eyes on Heaven. Most people fold their hands to pray, but I don’t find this practice anywhere in scripture” (Wiersbe 23, 24). There are many different postures recorded in scripture and they are all acceptable. Daniel prayed while kneeling. “…and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, as he had been doing previously” (Dan. 6:10). David sat while praying to God. “Then David the king went in and sat before the Lord, and he said, “Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me this far” (2 Sam. 7:18)? Abraham stood while standing. “…while Abraham was still standing before the Lord…and said…” (Gen. 18:22-23). Wiersbe suggests that the important thing is the posture of the heart. “It is much easier to bow the knees than to bow the heart in submission to God” (Wiersbe 24). The Pharisees were always practicing outward rituals, showing that they were the most religious. Our outward posture can sometimes express the emotion of our heart, but that is not always the case. Many times the Pharisees would practice the outward emotions without flaw, but their heart was not in it. Prayer is between us and our Father, not the person next to us or in the pew behind us. We should not be praying under compulsion or for sordid gain, but voluntarily. These are the people the Lord is speaking to when He says, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say” (Luke 6:46)?