Sometimes people come up to me and ask me to pray for them or for a certain situation. I always try to pray right then, because if I don’t, I know that I might forget.
But even if we sometimes forget to pray for each other, Jesus never forgets to pray for us. The Bible tells us that He’s interceding for us in Heaven before the Father: “Therefore he is able, once and forever, to save those who come to God through him. He lives forever to intercede with God on their behalf” (Hebrews 7:25 NLT).
And Romans 8:34 says, “Who then will condemn us? No one—for Christ Jesus died for us and was raised to life for us, and he is sitting in the place of honor at God’s right hand, pleading for us” (NLT).
The question is this: What is He praying? What are the petitions He’s bringing before the Father on our behalf? We find the answer in John 17. In a prayer that only Jesus could pray, we discover His will, His plan and His purpose for us.
This prayer essentially has three sections. First Jesus prayed for Himself (verses 1–5). He told God the Father that His work on Earth was finished. Then He prayed for his disciples (verses 6–19). He asked the Father to keep and sanctify them. And then He closed by praying for us and for the church to come (verses 20–26).
Jesus began by praying, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you” (verse 1 NLT). What had Jesus been doing up to this point? What had He done with His entire life? He glorified God the Father.
We should seek to follow his example. Jesus always sought to bring glory to the Father, and we should do the same. That’s why God has put us on this earth: to bring glory to Him.
Of course, we tend to think we’re here to chase after our dreams and try to be happy. But we’re here to worship God and honor Him.
Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be happy. It beats being miserable, doesn’t it? I like to be happy. I like to enjoy life. But if we live to be happy, we never will be. On the other hand, if we seek to honor and glorify God and fulfill the purpose we were created for, then we will discover that happiness comes as a byproduct. We are here to glorify God, to bring Him praise, and to bring Him honor in every way.
Next, Jesus prayed for His disciples. As we look at His prayer for them, we really discover His heart for us: “Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold” (verses 11–12 NLT).
One day Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren” (Luke 22:31–32 NKJV).
What a bombshell that must have been. Can you imagine sitting around with Jesus when He suddenly said that? In this case, Satan himself went after Peter. However, Jesus said, “But I have prayed for you.”
The good news is that when the devil knocks at the door, we can say, “Lord, would you mind answering that?” It’s so good to know that Jesus is interceding for each of us.
In addition to praying for the disciples’ preservation, Jesus also prayed for their consecration: “I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth” (verses 14–17 NLT).
In speaking of “the world,” Jesus was referring to a system, a mentality, a philosophy, a belief. It’s basically secularism. We can have a Christian worldview, or we can have a secular worldview. The “world” Jesus was speaking of is the system that would pull us away from God.
Here’s the best definition of the world system that I know: “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world” (1 John 2:16 NLT).
God wants us here in this world for a purpose. What is that purpose? I don’t believe it’s isolation, where we have very little to no contact with nonbelievers. Nor do I believe that it’s insulation, where we turn away from the pain and anguish of those who are without Christ.
Certainly, it isn’t stagnation, where we have no impact on the world at all, because we’re not living for the Lord. Worse yet, it isn’t imitation, where we actually become like the world that we’re living in.
Here’s what God wants for us: permeation, where we permeate our culture. We affect others by the way we live as we seek to glorify God with our lives.
The Bible tells us, “For you are a chosen people. You are royal priests, a holy nation, God’s very own possession. As a result, you can show others the goodness of God, for he called you out of the darkness into his wonderful light” (1 Peter 2:9 NLT).
God wants us to live lives that will glorify Him. That’s why we exist. He also wants us to be unified before a lost and divided world, overcoming our differences and pulling together for what we have in common in Jesus Christ. This is God’s heart for us. And if we’re smart, we’ll seek to conform our lives to His will, His plan, and His purpose.
Learn more about Pastor Greg Laurie.
This article was originally published at WND.com.
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