Summary: In John 17, Jesus models for us the type of "anything" prayers that God always answers.
11-02-03 John 17
Intro: 2 TV shows over the past couple of weeks, shocked at the content. King of Queens rerun, Carrie prays for a raise, gets it, they begin to get everything they pray for. Meat market scene with priest. Second, Everwood, pastor of church getting married, also going blind, he quotes Jesus in 16, ask anything in my name and your father will give it to you, asks congregation to join him that he’d be able to see his bride on his wedding day. One a rather humorous look, the other a poignant look at a man’s faith.
Jesus made some pretty astonishing statements about prayer, in 14, 15 and 16, ask anything in his name and God would give it to his followers. What’s he mean by that? He obviously has limits in mind, can’t ask for anything that would go against his known will, nor for the earth to be moved to the same orbit as Venus. The qualifier is that in my name phrase.
Often suspected that don’t see more of God’s intervention because we’ve made prayer something that it was never intended to be. King of Queens, (visual) “you’re prayers aren’t as much about this (hands folded) as they are about this (I Dream of Jeannie pose.)” James: We have not because we ask not and when we do, we ask with wrong motives, for the wrong things. If you think about the things you pray for, they tend to center around the things of this world—health, jobs, money/finances, general easing of your circumstances.
So my inquiring mind wants to know—what should we pray for? What kinds of prayers would fall under the anything of Jesus words? Brings us to John 17. Some call this his high priestly prayer, he is interceding for himself, the guys around him, and then us. Going to look at specific things Jesus prays for us, but also think that what Jesus is doing is modeling for us the kinds of prayers God loves to answer, the anything prayers.
© Jesus prayed. (7 years of higher education!) Was his habit to pray. Here’s what that says to me—if Jesus, wholly God and man, sharing this intimate relationship with the father, feels the need to connect to Him by praying, why don’t we? Why do we think that we can somehow live life, understand life, deal with troubles, make decisions, fulfill God’s mission, on our own? Practical atheists.
© Because here’s the 2nd thing: prayer for Jesus was an expression of his absolute and total dependence on God. “He looked toward heaven.” An expression throughout Bible that says, “we recognize that we can’t do this on our own and that we are looking to God for help.” Psalm 123:1,2: “I lift up my eyes to you, to you whose throne is in heaven. As the eyes of slaves look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maid looks to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God till He shows us mercy.” Even what he calls God, Father, Abba, Daddy, he is completely dependent on Him. This is just what God wants of us, just what is so hard for us to give. No other way to get it done, but to pray.
© Look at the content of the prayer:
o V. 1: Jesus is not asking that he would become a popular person. I am now facing what I came to do, allow me to complete this task in such a way that it will bring glory, not to me, but to you. May I walk through life in such a way that people will look at the way I face my difficulties and understand that it’s only through God that can happen. Think of the thing that is causing you the most grief right now—what kind of prayer do you normally pray about that? God, change my circumstance, get me out of this, help me escape! What would happen to our outlook if our prayers changed to, “Father, this is a hard situation, but what I want more than anything is for you to be glorified in this circumstance in my life. If that means escape, great, but if not, great. All that matters is what will honor God.”
o For the salvation of the lost and our part in that: V. 2, 3, 18, 25. Building towers of Babel if we are trying to do it under our own power. Pray tonight.
o V. 11-12, 14-16. Protection of his followers. As a father of 4 almost teens, I pray this prayer a lot!
o Our growth, our sanctification. V. 17. Wants us to become like him, to move from conscious competents to unconscious competents. Story of old deacon.