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An Invitation to Listen In On An Extraordinary Prayer

February 9, 2011

Dr. Gary Burge writes “John 17 invites us to listen in on a conversation.  It is a divine conversation of the highest order, in which Jesus speaks of the completion of his tasks on earth and prays earnestly for his followers, both present and future.  Therefore it offers a glimpse of who Jesus truly is in relation to the Father, and it gives us a portrait of those things that are close to Jesus’ heart in these last days of his life among his disciples on earth (emphasis mine).”

It seems that “the prayer is intended to summarize in Jesus’ own words 1) his relationship with the Father and 2) the relationship he wished his disciples to maintain with him and the Father” (Merrill Tenney).

One other point seems in order:  Jesus himself prayed!

If this does not convince us of the place of importance that prayer occupies in a Christian’s life, I know of no other argument that will.  The Son of God, the writer to the Hebrews says, “During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission” (Heb 5:7).  The gospel writer Mark tells us “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed” (Mk 1:35). Luke reports for us that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Lk. 5:16).  In Luke 6:12 we are told that Jesus spent the night praying to God before the choosing of his disciple-apostles.

Jesus did not need to pray because he lacked power or became weak in any spiritual sense.  Rather, Jesus prayed because in identifying himself with mankind, he set the example of how all mankind is to relate to the Father.

“I tell you the truth,” Jesus said in Jn 5:19, “ the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”  Remember those words from Hebrews, “He was heard because of his reverent submission.”

My food,” said Jesus, “is to do the will of him who sent me and to finish his work” (Jn 4:34). In Jn 8:28 Jesus says “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am the one I claim to be and that I do nothing on my own but speak just what the Father has taught me.”

Jesus prayed, in part, to model for us a life of submission and dependence upon God the Father.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    February 9, 2011 9:40 AM

    Dude, we are living in parallel universes – I just worked on a paper on Jesus’ leadership style. One of the several aspects of his style was being a vocational, a missional, and a devotional leader. All which called for humbly submitting to the Father’s will and staying in constant contact with his heavenly Father. As a relational leader, he shared his devotional life with his disciples, so they could learn and grow as well.

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