I really was not sure what I would find when I decided to do a study on how to pray for others. Even when I selected John 17 for my research, I wasn’t sure what I would be able to glean for it. I have honestly been amazed at the wealth of messages that are in this short chapter, though, and the promise of “ask and ye shall receive” has been abundantly filled! In the Great Intercessory Prayer I feel that Jesus lays out a perfect template for how to petition for our brothers and sisters. Let’s do a review of what we learned.
Get Yourself Connected First
First and foremost you need to consider your own connection to God. You need to know His goodness before you can pray for it in others. If we try to pray for the love of God to come into other’s lives and we have not experienced that love ourselves, then we are just praying a “wish” instead of praying in “faith.”
19- And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified.
23- … that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
Secondly you need to be connected to those you pray for. Even if these are strangers you are praying for, you can have your heart drawn out in common humanity for your fellow brothers and sisters. Jesus knew those he prayed for clear through to their very souls. He knows their goodness, and he knows their failings. He truly was their shepherd.
8- For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
12- While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition;
Make this a partnership
We’re not meant to treat God like a genie and ask Him to do everything for us. Neither are we meant to treat God like a taskmaster and who demands us to do everything on our own. One of the messages that comes through clearest to me in Jesus’s prayer is the relationship he and God have as fellow workers in the same field.
8- For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them.
22- And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them;
ask for the universals
If you’re unsure of what to specifically ask for those you pray for, pray for what you know. You know that everyone needs God’s love in their lives. You know that everyone needs to feel the reality of being God’s own child. You know that everyone is their best when they see themselves the way Christ sees them. You know everyone needs forgiveness and Grace. Jesus prays for universal goodness that all of us can echo in our own prayers.
15- I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
17- Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth
Ask for unity
And recognize that your desires for others all come back to the need for you and those you pray for to come to a common ground: God’s common ground. If there is a rift between you, each of you coming to God will close that gap. If there is a hurt or a wound, God’s presence will heal that. If there is a desire to serve and love, God’s guidance will show your hands the work to do.
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.