by Pastor David Groendyk
Take a moment to reflect on what you’re reading in this chapter. Jesus is praying to the Father. One person of the Godhead is speaking to another person of the Godhead. That doesn’t happen often in Scripture, at least not in this extended format. We have a verse here and a verse there that record some of Jesus’ prayers, but this is almost an entire page of the Son praying to the Father. Before analyzing the text any further, think about this: what are some of the things that Jesus prays for in this chapter? How is Jesus’ prayer similar or different to how we usually pray? How can we change our prayer lives to reflect Jesus’ perfect prayer?
One author says that this prayer sums up much of the entire Gospel of John. The ESV Study Bible takes all the information in this prayer and breaks it down into a few categories. One is what the Son gives to believers. In other words, what is Jesus’ mission? What does he do for us? He gives us eternal life (v. 2), the words of the Father (vv. 8, 14), a manifestation of the Father himself and his name (vv. 6, 26), and glory (v. 22). He reveals to us the Father and gives us eternal life. Spend some time now in prayer thanking God for what Jesus did on this earth, and ask that all of us believers would see him truly for who he is, stripping away all of our false notions and images of him.
Another category in this prayer is what Jesus asks the Father to do. He asks the Father to glorify himself (vv. 1, 5), to keep the disciples in his name (v. 11), to keep the disciples from the temptations of the evil one (v. 15), to sanctify the disciples in the truth (v. 17), and to unite all believers together (v. 21). He asks for himself to be glorified and to preserve his believers free from sin and united as one. Spend some time praying that Jesus’ name—and none other—would be glorified in the church; pray that churches and believers would see their sin, confess it, and turn away from it; pray that the Church would experience unparalleled unity, not letting extrabiblical matters unnecessarily divide us.
One final category in this prayer is what Jesus says about believers. He says that they are sent out into the world (v. 18), they are in the world (v. 11), they are not of the world (v. 16), the world hates them (v. 14), and their unity should cause the world to believe in Jesus (v. 21). Pray that you would be bold enough not to retreat and isolate away from unbelievers and the rest of the world. Pray that you would have the spiritual strength to keep doing what is godly and right in the midst of a crooked generation. Pray that your words, attitudes, and actions would not be divisive when directed at other believers. Pray that your words, attitudes, and actions would be winsome when heard and seen by unbelievers.