Summary: In Jesus’ final prayer for His disciples, He prays for their protection, that they will remain faithful, joyful, unscathed, and sanctified. If this were His concerns, these must also be our prayer concerns for one another today.
One of the most encouraging experiences as a Christian is to be prayed for by someone else.
• When someone prays for you, especially in your presence, something special happens in your heart - you feel cared for and encouraged.
• I believe for those of you having exams this week, and knowing that we are praying for you, you’ll feel encouraged and comforted.
There’s a sense of intimacy, both between you and the other person, and between you and God.
• It’s like you’re knocking on heaven’s doors together.
• It is one of the best ways to build relationships between Christians – it binds our hearts together
And it’s one of the surest ways of ensuring unity in the church.
• It’s pretty hard for division to exist and take hold when people are praying together.
We need to pray not only FOR one another, we need to pray WITH one another.
Robert McCheyne once said this:
“If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me.”
The Bible tells us Jesus is praying for us today.
Heb 7:25 “Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.”
Rom 8:34 “Christ Jesus, who died-more than that, who was raised to life-is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
Let’s read a prayer Jesus uttered for us – John 17:1, 9-19
The prayer of Jesus serves as a fitting conclusion to the upper room discourse of chapters 14-16.
• In 17:1 John informs us that this prayer is to be understood as a kind of conclusion to the Lord’s teaching in chap. 14-16, “After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed…”
• This prayer, the longest of Jesus’ recorded prayers, was intended to be overheard by His disciples.
• I think one purpose of this prayer was to bring comfort and hope to the troubled hearts of the disciples.
• And to allow us, believers in the generations to come, to understand the Lord’s concern for us.
This prayer may have been more effective at the moment than all the teaching of chapters 14-16.
• While the disciples may be assured from the words of Jesus (chap.14-16), I believe they are much more comforted and strengthened in faith through the prayer.
• Sermons can bring us encouragement in times of our need, but I’m sure very often it is the prayers of fellow bros/sis that brought greater comfort and assurance.
• That’s why we need to pray WITH one another, to hear others praying for and with you.
• This prayer must have done much to calm the troubled hearts of the disciples.
The verses we’ve just read highlight Jesus’ concern for his disciples – their protection.
This is our experience today:
ALL ALONG IN THE JUNGLE
The early Native Indians had a unique practice of training young men. On the night of a boy’s 13th birthday, after learning hunting, scouting, and fishing skills, he was put to one final test.
He was placed in a dense forest to spend the entire night alone. Until then, he had never been away from the security of the family and the tribe. But on this night, he was blindfolded and taken several miles away.
When he took off the blindfold, he was in the middle of a thick woods and he was terrified! Every time a twig snapped, he visualized a wild animal ready to pounce.
After what seemed like an eternity, dawn broke and the first rays of sunlight entered the interior of the forest. Looking around, the boy saw flowers, trees, and the outline of the path.
Then, to his utter astonishment, he beheld the figure of a man standing just a few feet away, armed with a bow and arrow. It was his father. He had been there all night long.
The first concern of Jesus is our protection.
• As a mother hen watches over and protects her own, Jesus has protected each and every one of his disciples, except the one doomed to destruction according to the Scriptures.
• 3 times in our passage Christ speaks of protection. “Holy Father, protect (keep, guard, watch over) them by the power of your name…” (v.11); “I protected them” (v.12); “protect them from the evil one.” (v.15).
This protection was done by the Lord while He was with His disciples (v.12).
He is returning to the Father but the protection continues.
• So the Lord prays that God will continue to watch over them.
• And protect us in these 4 aspects – the disciples will remain faithful, joyful in a world that is against them, unscathed against the evil one, and sanctified always.