Things to Remember about Prayer - Lesson XII
Jesus the High Priest. John 17:24.
Jesus reveals what their new life is to be like when the Holy Spirit is given. The branches will be joined in life-union with the vine. They will bear fruit as His witnesses, to live and to suffer for Him, even as He had lived and suffered. But also the blessings, one above all, true unlimited promises of power in prayer. He prays for them, that they may have the joy of knowing what His intercession as their High Priest will be like.
That they are also to participate in this high calling of intercession for others. These promises are for the furtherance of the Gospel, not our own interests. The Lord Himself must teach us what prayer in His Name is to be. To pray with the same purpose, in unity with Him is what we are to do.
In John 17, Jesus first prays for Himself (verses 1-5), then for the disciples (6-19), then for all believers of all time. Jesus first prays for His own glory for the purpose of glorifying the Father. His prayer is based upon the holy covenant agreed upon in heaven between Father and Son. He had been promised power over all flesh as reward of His work on earth. He had done the work, He had glorified the Father, and would further glorify Him through His people. So also we must pray in our relation to the Father, our part in Christ and His work, all to the Father's glory.
Ask that Jesus may be glorified in us, in the Name and Spirit of Jesus, thereby in union with Him. If we glorify the Father with Jesus, the Father will glorify Jesus by doing what we ask in His Name. As Christ has power in glorifying the Father, so we also as we seek God's glory in our intercessory prayer shall have power with the Father.
Jesus speaks of His disciples as those given Him by the Father. Their chief distinction is their having been given His Word. He is now to send them into the world in His place, just as the Father had sent Him. He asks that the Father keep them from the evil one, and keep them pure through His Word as He has kept Himself pure for them.
As Jesus did, we must pray for those closest to us. Our intercession must be personal and definite. We must pray for their receiving His Word, and we are responsible also to deliver it to them. We must pray for their being kept from the evil one, and their strengthening and faith in God's Word.
Father, please keep them in Thy Name. Sanctify them through Thy truth. In the Name of Jesus, heard and answered.
Jesus also prays for those who through their word shall believe, including all places and time. That the love of the Father, He has experienced will also be in them and He in them. This will be the proof of the efficacy and truth of His own mission on earth. To pray for all Christians is to pray for the unity in Spirit as a witness to the world that Jesus is the Son of God, sent from heaven to reveal the love of God, forgiveness and reconciliation, triumph over the world, the flesh and the devil...That the church is united with Christ in spirit and in truth, and this is only possible through the sacrifice of Jesus and the love of the Father.
True faith honors God. The believer's will must be at one with His Lord's. He that loses his own will for Christ's sake shall find it; he that gives over his own will completely will find it again, renewed and strengthened with Divine power. In union with Him, our prayer avails. Living and speaking and doing all in His Name is the abiding and union with Him.
Therein is the confidence in prayer that our requests are made known to the Father through the continual intercession of the Son. We become part of the Father's 'I will' as we intercede with Christ and yield ourselves completely to God's Spirit. This opens us to receive the love, light, and power to take hold of all that God wills for us.
Jesus has called us to participate in His interceding prayer. Why are we so hesitant to accept and understand this spiritual and important privilege? It is in this way that we have the right and responsibility to call down the blessings of heaven to those around us here on earth.
Dear God, may we give more of ourselves over to unceasing prayer. Increase our desire for your Glory, Oh God. May we continue to grow and mature in grace, and unselfishness, that the desire of our hearts is to be like Christ in making intercession for believers, for strength and comfort, in health and fruit-bearing, that the Gospel of love and forgiveness may spread and bring others into the light and truth of God's Gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.
Not what I will, but what Thou wilt. Mark 14:36. From the surrender to God's will in the Garden, gives Christ the right as High Priest in Heaven to ask what He will, in which He includes His followers the same right and power to ask what they will. If Jesus had to state this choice to totally give over to God's will, how much more do we also need to follow His lead?
Jesus mentions the cup which was the Father's will that He must drink. He tells the disciples of this also. In the garden Jesus had to face in His humanity the extreme pain and rejection, the anguish and death. This showed His experiencing weakness of the flesh, could this cup pass from Him.
This was a prayer that Jesus knew God could not accept. Only submission to God's will would guarantee the answer. Thus Jesus accepts God's will and overcomes all fear of suffering and over the power of death. This was the greatest proof of His obedience. He sacrificed His will, which led to His sacrifice on the cross. This was the act for which God highly exalted Him, and had the immeasurable value of saving men from their sins. This also gave Him the right and reward to ask what He wills of the Father and it shall be done.
Jesus accepted suffering and death, that we may go free. He died for us to live. He followed God's will that we could ask what we will. We deserve no audience with God, much less His granting our wishes. Jesus suffered for us also. And by this suffering He has gained for us the opposite, the answer to every prayer, as we abide in Him. We must also through the indwelling Holy Spirit experience the same obedience, and giving in to the perfect will of the Father.
As Jesus completely yielded His will unto the Father we must also learn to surrender our wills unto the will of the Father. Only through the power of the indwelling Spirit may we attempt to overcome our own weaknesses and self will. May we yield to the revealed will of God in His Word, and have the mind of Christ in thinking, 'not my will but Thine be done.'
This will bring us to be used of God in His service to know and desire what we may say and do as our part in obedience to His will. This includes how and for what we must pray for, what we are to ask and what will be done, all in Jesus' Name and for God's Glory.
This article was written by my father T.O.D. Johnston, who was licensed to preach the Gospel by Paran Baptist Church on May 26, 1979. He has been a student of Scripture since 1972. View more lessons at his Bible Study Lessons page.