Please note the following is an excerpt from “Jesus’ Prayer from A to Z”, of which I’m Editor.
– E – Everyone Included In Jesus’ Prayer, by Eubanks, David L.
When the Scottish Reformer John Knox suffered the illness that took his life, he instructed his wife and secretary “that one of them should read to him every day, with a distinct voice, the 17th chapter of John, the 53rd chapter of Isaiah, and a chapter in the Epistle to the Ephesians. This was punctually complied with the whole time of his sickness.” This marvelous prayer of Jesus in John 17 has captured the hearts of Christians from the beginning of the church. One of the main reasons is that it is so broad in its scope and so deep in its meaning. Too often our prayers are narrow in focus and shallow in purpose, like the proverbial: Lord, bless me, my wife, my son John and his wife, us four and no more.
There is a moving song about the love and sacrifice of Christ that repeats these words: When He was on the cross, I was on His mind. Jesus’ prayer strikes the same chord. When He offered that prayer, I was on His mind. In fact, everyone was on His mind. He began by praying for Himself that the Father would restore to Him the glory that He had before the world was created. He prayed for His disciples that they would be protected from the evil one and be sanctified by the truth.
Fully half of His prayer was directed toward everyone else. He prayed for all of us in Christ that we would be one in Him and the Father. Surely Jesus is actually praying that we would recognize and maintain a unity that naturally exists in Him. Paul writes, “For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.” (I Corinthians 12:13) Everyone in Christ is one with everyone else in Christ. If God is my Father and Christ is my Brother, then I am one with every other child of God, brother or sister in Christ.
The ultimate purpose of this unity among His followers, according to Jesus’ own words, is that everyone else in the world may know that God loves them and sent Jesus on their behalf. So Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is that everyone in Christ may be one with Him and the Father, and with each other, that the world may come to know John 3:16: For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Jesus would later command His disciples to evangelize the world: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15, 16) Realizing the importance of unity in spreading the message of God’s redeeming love throughout the world and down through the centuries, Jesus prayed in advance for the unity of all who would hear and respond to this message. You could say that He prayed that every believer in Him might be one with every other believer so that everyone else in the world may also become a believer in Him.
Dear Father, we praise Your Name for loving everyone in the world and for sending Jesus to save all who believe on Him. We thank you for His marvelous prayer for the unity of everyone who belongs to Him so that a divided world may come to know Him. Empower us to be vital servants of His, maintaining that unity and helping to be an answer to His prayer.
Eubanks, Dr. David L. - Knoxville, TN - Past President, Johnson Bible College (1969-2007). Graduate of Johnson Bible College (A.B. ; M.Th), and University of Tennessee (B.S.; Ph.D). Has visited and served churches and missionaries in 22 countries. 1984 NACC President. President of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. Author of Hebrews, (a Bible study). He and wife Margaret have three children.
Prayer For Unity –
Our Father, we thank You for the privilege
of being together at this time and in this place.
As Your people, we pray that Your love
will unite us into a fellowship of discovery.
Cleanse us of everything
that would sap our strength for togetherness.
Unravel the knots in our spirits.
Cleanse the error of our minds.
Free us from the bondage of our negative imaginations.
Break down the barriers that sometime keep us apart
and cause us to drift along without a dream.
As we go from here -
Explode in us new possibilities for service.
Kindle within us the fires of Your compassion
so that we may not wait too long to learn to love.
May we be a people with loving purposes -
Let us be Your “Alleluia!”
in a joyless, fragmented world.
In the name of our Lord, we pray.
- Champ Traylor
(from Prayer, (C) 1976 John T. Benson Publishing)
All rights reserved. Used by permission
How can I adjust my thinking to include everyone, either as a prospective brother/sister, or a brother/sister in reality?
Pray Jesus’ prayer for: Educational (Teachers, students, etc.)/ Electronics/ Energy/ Engineers
Pray Jesus’ prayer for Believers in Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, EthiopiaThis message has been edited. Last edited by: Tom (Jn.17:21) M.,
Fellowship of John 17:21
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