“I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.” (John 17:6-19)
Like children at the “grown-up table” the disciples and we hear these words. I am not criticizing this passage beloved reader, but pointing out a truth that the disciples may not have been able to understand and take in this prayer; or maybe they did. It is not typically what we would think of as a prayer. It is more of a conversation between two Divine equals, one telling the other what is mutually understood by both of them, but saying this conversation out loud for the purpose of informing and enlightening the listener.
Again, I am not being critical. Let me assure you of that beloved reader. Many times prayer is thought of as telling God what we want or thanking God for something. It’s direction is from us below to God high above us. But this prayer of Jesus’ is more like a report to God of what Jesus has done according to a plan that was set down far in advance of Jesus’ coming to earth. It is just so different!
What would it be like . . . what would it mean if we prayed to God like this? What would it mean to be on this much of intimate terms with God? What would it be like to partner with the God-self to this depth and level? But how can we turn away from this opportunity? Jesus did not have to pray this prayer out loud in front of his disciples. It could have been done as a time away in prayer that Jesus did so often during his earthly ministry. Makes you wonder what those times away were like. But Jesus HAD to have a reason for disclosing to the disciples this depth of relationship with God. And I HAVE to believe it was to show them, and show us beloved reader, what a relationship with God could be like.
I encourage you to cultivate such a relationship with God, and to enter into such conversations with our Lord. And I await to hear how it might change you, your life, and the people around you. Shalom!