John 17: 6-19: The Lord’s Prayer.
“6 “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. 9 I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me,for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” NIV
Again, we are reminded that the life of discipleship begins with the action of sovereign grace (6-8). God takes the initiative.
It could be said that this chapter also contains ‘the Lord’s prayer’. In today’s verses we overhear Jesus’ prayer for the 11 (as they now were: verse 12b). It provides an insight into his heart; we get to feel His pulse, and this can surely helps us to know how to pray for fellow-Christ followers.
He prayed for:
Protection by the Name of Jesus (11, 12). The Name stands for all that He really and truly is. It’s more than a label. The Name ‘Jesus’ means ‘Saviour’, ‘Deliverer’, ‘Rescuer’.
Jesus prayed for protection:
because they were ”still in the world” (11), and the world is a dangerous place for disciples of Christ (14). We are ‘in’ it, but not ‘of’ it (16). It is the Word of God that makes the difference. Life lived according to Christ’s Word marks us out as different. We become travellers in an opposite direction. It puts us on a collision course with the current, evil world system: ”I gave them your word; the godless world hated them because of it, Because they didn’t join the world’s ways, Just as I didn’t join the world’s ways…They are no more defined by the world Than I am defined by the world.” The Message. The world hates and persecutes such people;
from the devil (15). As in the other Lord’s Prayer, He prays for deliverance from the evil one. He does not ask for their removal from the world. They are sent on a mission into it, as He was (18). He just asks for their protection from Satan;
for unity (11b). How insightful was this prayer of our Lord. He knew that relationships among disciples would always be under threat from the evil one, and He prayed for protection in this area.
It was obviously going to be a difficult life for Jesus’ disciples. He was only too aware of the fact. But He wanted them to experience the joy He Himself had in the face of the trials, the temptations, the onslaught of evil.
The Word of God may get us persecuted, as we have seen. But it also brings purity into our lives. It is God’s main way of shaping, forming His people into the image of Christ. So let’s give ourselves to reading, studying, knowing and living the Book of God.
”Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” (John 6:68).