Summary: The Our Father in Matthew 6 is typically referred to as the Lord's Prayer. But really, John 17 is what should be called the Lord's Prayer because it literally is the prayer of Jesus. Jesus' longest recorded prayer has much to say and there's much to gain.
THE PRAYER OF JESUS
INTRODUCTION: The Our Father of Matthew 6:9-13 is typically referred to as the Lord's Prayer. But really, it is the disciple's prayer given to them by the Lord. Here, in John 17 is what should be called the Lord's Prayer because it literally is the prayer of Jesus. Jesus' longest recorded prayer has much to say and there's much to be gained by going through it.
1) Jesus prays for himself (1-5).
"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began."
Of the three sections of Jesus' prayer, this is the shortest one. This shows that in our prayers, praying for ourselves should be the shortest section. Although he prays for himself first, this prayer isn't really for himself as much as it is about himself for the benefit of those who were listening.
'He looked toward heaven'. Jesus did this before when he prayed before raising Lazarus from the dead. It's interesting considering that it's customary for us to bow our heads in prayer. What's interesting is that I found many instances of bowing in the NIV but not any that were in connection to praying. Not that it's wrong to bow our heads when we pray as it is a sign of humility and of honor and respect to God but perhaps sometimes we should lift our eyes up to heaven when we pray.
Then we see Jesus asking the Father to glorify him but it's not for himself-it's that the father would be glorified. In a short while Jesus will be arrested, tortured and crucified. He asks that in that sacrifice and resurrection that he be glorified so that he could in turn bring glory to God for completing his work and his mission of making a way for mankind to be saved.
He wanted his listeners to be convinced of his deity. "With the glory I had with you before the world began". Jesus had an existence before coming to earth. He had a glorified state. He was with God from the very beginning. John 1:1, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God." And we learn from verse 14 that Jesus is the Word because it says that the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. So, Jesus wanted everyone to be convinced of who he was so that they would believe upon him for salvation.
How might we be able to pray this type of prayer today? Not that we should ask to be glorified because that is reserved for Jesus and the Father but we should pray that we would do things to bring glory and honor to him. We live in a world where people are watching us. And some people who know we are Christians are just looking for us to mess up. That's why it's so important to be prayed up and studied up and lifted up by God and our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. We need to live lives that causes people to glorify God.
1st Pet. 2:11-12, "Dear friends, I urge you, as aliens and strangers in the world, to abstain from sinful desires, which war against your soul. Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us."
What did Jesus tell us in Matt. 5:16-Let your light shine before men that they may see your good deeds and praise God. So, in a sense, we are glorified by the fact that the light of Christ , the glory of Christ, shines through us. The purpose in that is to cause God to be glorified. Jesus said in John 8:54 that if he glorified himself his glory would mean nothing.
He went on to say that the Father is the one who glorifies him. When we seek glory for ourselves it will mean nothing. When we praise ourselves or build ourselves up, especially to others, it's a turn-off. But when we let others praise us or when we receive praise from God then it is something else altogether. When we make our aim to glorify God in what we do rather than to seek praise and honor for ourselves because of what we do then our motives are valid.