Friday, June 6, 2014

He Prayed for Them; He Prays for Us

In the gospel reading from John that we heard just now Jesus prays for his disciples. It sounds as if when he’s praying, talking with God, his Father, he’s right out in the open, in the middle of the room, where they can all hear him.
Have you had someone pray for you? Have you been there when they prayed for you? Were you able to hear the words they used as they prayed and talked with God about you?
It’s a little like standing by a door that’s just barely cracked open, listening as they pray, as they talk with God about you…or me…or a friend. When someone prays for us when we’re with them we get to hear what they think about us. We hear their concerns for us, what they desire for us. It’s a little like eavesdropping. And yet it makes us feel loved to have someone pray to God for us, pray on our behalf, petitioning God for us, in Jesus’ name.
When we hear someone praying, when we hear their words we know or we think we know, what they’re thinking. We can guess about the state of the world or the community or the church or their family by the words they use as they pray.
As you heard the words Jesus prayed what do you think the condition of the disciples was? How were they feeling? Do you think they knew, really knew, that Jesus was going to die? Do you think they knew that he would be buried but would rise again in 3 days? Do you think they had any idea what Jesus meant when he said he was going away but he would be sending an advocate, a counsellor to them?
I think the disciples were worried by Jesus’ words. I think they couldn’t believe that he was talking about dying and rising again. I don’t think they had a clue what he meant about the Advocate, the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit.
But we can tell from Jesus’ prayer that he knew they were going to be in a struggle, that they were going to be scared, they were going to suffer, and so he prayed for them asking God to protect them because they’d been with him all the time and they truly believed that he’d come from the Father, from God. They believed he was the Christ, the Messiah.
Jesus prayed to God that they’d be one. He knew them. He knew they were all different. He knew there was disagreements and conflicts between them. He knew it wasn’t going to be easy for them to tell their story to the world. And so he prayed that God would protect them and make them one.
Doesn’t that make you wonder how Jesus prays for the Church today? Doesn’t it make you wonder how Jesus is praying for you and your family and your friends and your church?
He knows us. He knows the world. He knows we’re being attacked every day by the evil in the world. How is Jesus praying for us right now?
The disciples heard Jesus praying for them. My friends, Jesus hasn’t quit praying. He’s still praying today, for us, for the Church, for the Kingdom.
Why was Jesus praying for the disciples? Why’s he still praying for us today? My friends, he’s praying because he loves us. He’s praying because he desires that we be filled to overflowing with that same love.
So, Jesus is praying right now, for you and for me, for our friends and our enemies. His prayer hasn’t changed.
He’s prays that God’s glory shines through. Shines through his prayers and through us. He’s praying for the will of God to be done on earth as it is in heaven. He’s praying that we, you and I, will be protected from evil and not tempted by the things of this world. Jesus’ prayer for us today is overflowing with his love for us, his compassion, and concern for us. His prayer is the same today as it was back then; it’s the same as John recorded it for us to read.
He loves us; he’s praying for us so we can be with him in glory, in eternal life. Jesus is interceding for us before the Father that we will be one.
Thanks be to God for his loving and forgiving grace. Amen.

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