John 17: Jesus' Prayer

After Jesus finished saying this, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your Son, so that the Son may give glory to you. For you gave him authority over all people, so that he might give eternal life to all those you gave him. And eternal life means to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, whom you sent. I have shown your glory on earth; I have finished the work you gave me to do. Father! Give me glory in your presence now, the same glory I had with you before the world was made.
— John 17:1-5

Many times I’ve heard people express an unwillingness to pray for themselves. They feel that it is selfish and instead they should focus on others. Jesus gives us a great example of praying for Himself.  We can learn a great amount from the content of Jesus’ prayer as he focused inward on Himself.

Jesus focused on the mission that the Father had assigned him to. Jesus’ prayer was that this mission (His death and resurrection) could be completed and that it would bring glory (think recognition/honor) to the Father and Himself. Jesus’ prayer is focused on the results of his mission. He knows that it’s completion will bring eternal life to all who believe, it will also bring great glory to the Father and Himself. He is eager for it and longs for it to come

Jesus also knows the pain and agony of what he will endure in the coming days (Luke 18:31-34). He is aware of the need for him to be punished, and ultimately killed for the sins of the world. He deals with the present agony as he feels of the weight of the path in front of Him (Luke 22:41-46). He submits His emotions (the agony of the pain he will feel) and His desire (to complete the mission a different way) to the plan of the Father and moves forward into completing the mission set before Him.

When we are praying for ourselves, our mission (and the glory it will bring to God) and our emotions ought to be a main focus of our prayers. Telling God your desires and emotions is wise, and helps us greatly in understanding how to submit and surrender those to God (Matthew 6:25-34 / Phil 4:4-7). As we pray for ourselves we must also focus on the mission that God has for us. Jesus focuses on this in John 17:20-26 and tells us that our mission is to testify, to be unified, to overcome this world, and to be glorified with God forever. The wonderful thing about being given this mission is that it is also a promise that God will be with us (John 14:15-17, John 14:25-26, John 16:7-11) and that we have an eternal dwelling with Him that has already begun.

Spend a moment thanking God for this mission that he has given all of us. Pray for strength and wisdom to complete it well.

Furthermore, God has placed each of us in a unique position with a unique role to play. What (or who) has God placed in front of you at this exact stage in your life? Spend a moment praying that God would empower you and lead you forward in the mission he has for you in this stage in your life.