“My prayer is not for them alone.
I pray also for those who will believe in me
through their message.”
through their message.”
John 17:20 NIV
Today I am sitting in my garden looking down at the word “JOY” engraved on a stone along the garden path. On this winter morning, not much is blooming and it is a bit chilly but my spirit is soon to be warmed by the memory of a time when I was joyfully amazed! It was the first time that I experienced joy while reading the Bible. I was reading in the book of John. The setting was in the upper room right before Jesus was about to go out and experience the dreaded agony of Gethsemane and the cross.
Jesus began to pray. First of all he prayed for himself. He prayed to his Father saying, “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” John 17:1 NIV Jesus prayed that his obedience to the will of the Father would bring glory to God the Father. Jesus was all about pleasing his Father!
Then Jesus prayed for his disciples, “My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” John 17:1 NIV Jesus prayed that God would protect the disciples from the evil one and that God would purify them through the truth of his words. Of all the things that Jesus could have prayed for the disciples, like health, wealth, and power, he simply did not. Instead he prayed for what he knew to be important. Jesus’ prayer for them was for protection from Satan and that they would always know God’s truth and that by accepting that truth they would be able to live a sanctified life even in the midst of life surrounded by trouble.
Then Jesus prayed for all believers, “…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, …May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them, even as you have loved me.” John 17:20, 21b NIV Jesus prayed for all future believers, that through the message of the disciples they would be brought into complete unity. Why? To let the world know that God sent Jesus and that Jesus loves them in the same way God loves Jesus. It was easy for me to see that Jesus loved his disciples but it was hard for me to wrap my mind around the full extent of Jesus’ love for me! The truth is Jesus loves me and you in the very same way that God loves him. Jesus prayed that you and I would know his amazing love for each one of us!
I cannot tell you the joy that I felt when that spiritual truth soaked deep into my heart. Up until that time Jesus was just kind of out there. I had accepted him into my life but there was still an impersonal relationship between me and the “Holy God.” Until that day I was not aware of the fact that Jesus is very personal. Jesus is so personal that he prayed for me personally more than 2000 years ago! Even before I was born, Jesus Christ prayed for me! When I realized that the “they” in that scripture included me I was moved to tears. I now understood the heart of Jesus through this scriptural prayer. The content of this prayer filled me with supernatural joy! Talk about a rush! The God of the universe had now become very personal to me. I have read this story many, many times since that first reading, and each and every time as I read it I am again touched. I still continue to stand joyfully amazed that Jesus prayed for me personally even before I was born.
I cannot say it enough. God is interested in each one of us on a very personal level. He not only wants us to receive him as our Savior, he also wants to be our personal friend, our helper, and our intercessor in prayer before the throne of God.
I am a little taken back when I realize that Jesus is praying for me this day and everyday. He always has and he always will pray that I will be in complete unity with him and the Father. He wants my actions and words to mirror his love. When that happens I become a witness to others of his amazing love for all of humanity. As believers we have a message of truth to deliver. Jesus continues to pray that others will hear the message and come to know him through the message that he asks each of us to deliver to all those he has given to us.
Has God ever spoken to you through his Word?
What was the message of that scripture?
Did you have a sense that those words were written just for you?
As a result, did you stand joyfully amazed?
Who are the people that are within your sphere of influence that God has given to you?
What does God want you to share? Your faith? A word of encouragement? A prayer?
Dear Heavenly Father,
I thank you for your Word. I pray that you will continue to speak personally to me through your Word. Thank you for the happiness and the joy that you bring to my life through the revelation and understanding of your Word. I stand joyfully amazed to know that you prayed for me before even one day of my life began. I am so glad that you felt it was important for me to know how much I am loved by you. Thank you for praying for me 2000 years ago and that you continue to intercede for me before the throne of your Heavenly Father. Help me to share with the ones that you have given me, your love for each one of them.
In Your Name I pray. Amen.