Archive for June 9th, 2007

You’re the Answer to My Prayer

Saturday, June 9th, 2007

Today’s scripture: John 17:14-26 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me in this passage? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts on this passage (Deb Doty):

I remember the first time I realized the implication of verse 20. Here Jesus is praying what some folks call “The High Priestly Prayer” shortly after the last supper and shortly before his arrest and crucifixion. He knows he has only hours to live and he prays for his disciples, knowing he is leaving them in a world full of hate, violence, and lies. And then in verse 20 he prays: “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word….” I remember my heart skipped a beat, and I reread it five or six times just to be sure. Jesus was praying for us! Jesus was praying for me! If you’ve never realized this, let it sink in — Jesus prayed for you!

But read on! The thought doesn’t end there. He continues: “…that they all may be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

Jesus prayed that we — the disciples alive when he prayed this prayer and all of us who were yet to come — would be one (as verse 23 says, “completely one” ) so that the world would know that God had sent Jesus.

Let’s be honest. It’s easy for us to nod our heads and agree in theory that the Church should be one. But when we put a face on the theory, and realize we’re supposed to be intimately united with her, we get a queasy feeling in the pit of our stomachs and say, “But, God, not her anybody but her — she’s a super-EGR (extra grace required) person — and I just don’t have time for that!” And so another day passes when we fail to fulfill Jesus’ prayer. And another day goes by when the watching world points a finger at us and says, “See — this Jesus thing — it’s all just a bunch of talk.”

I love this Scripture passage because I get all warm and fuzzy thinking that Jesus prayed for me. But I hate this passage because I am the poster child for pickiness — “God, I’d rather not be associated with Pat Robertson, thanks very much.” And yet, Jesus prayed that we’d all be one so the world could believe that Jesus is sent by God. It’s sobering to think that maybe the world doesn’t believe because we Christians don’t even like each other sometimes — much less love each other. And we each have to take partial responsibility for that failure.

We don’t have to agree on every point, but we ought to be able to recognize each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and treat each other accordingly.

Thought for the day: Can you pray this prayer with me? “God, I pray that we would all be one so that the world could see and believe — and so that Jesus’ prayer would finally be answered. Change our hearts. And, God, please start with me.”

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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