The Lord’s Actual Prayer
Okay, so this one will be a two-part series. We’ll start today and finish it next week. We all grew up memorizing “The Lord’s Prayer”, “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name…” I’m sure that you can finish it. Somewhere along the line, we mislabeled this, because Jesus never prayed this prayer. In fact, He never told us to repeat it in unison or say it every time we gather. The truth is that He never told us to say it at all. That passage we call “The Lord’s Prayer” was nothing more than an outline that He gave us. The disciples had asked Him how to pray, and He said in Matthew 6:9, “Pray like this…”, or in the KJV it says “in this manner…”. So, it was just an outline, He was saying to start out by praising God, then pray for His kingdom to come, and so on.
But, this isn’t a blog on Christ’s outline for prayer, this is a blog on what the Lord actually prayed. With Easter weekend rapidly approaching, I wanted to look at the prayer that Jesus prayed just before He was betrayed and arrested. We find this prayer in John chapter 17. He starts out the prayer, in the first 2 verses by saying, “After saying all these things, Jesus looked up to heaven and said, ‘Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son so he can give glory back to you. 2 For you have given him authority over everyone. He gives eternal life to each one you have given him.’” Notice He says that He has given eternal life to everyone that the Father has given Him. The phrase “have given”, in the Greek language, is a perfect indicative tense, which means that it is an action that was completed in the past but has continuing results, and the indicative mood is an assertion of fact. So, in those two little words, Christ is saying that it is a fact that the Father has given and continues to give Him souls to save. Wow, God is good!
Verse 3 very simply tells us how we can be saved, “And this is the way to have eternal life—to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, the one you sent to earth.” To know the one true God and Jesus, the Christ. The word He used here translated “to know”, is the Greek word ginosko. This word indicates an intimate knowledge, in fact, it is also used as an idiom for sexual intercourse between a man and woman. You see, just a head knowledge of God will never suffice, let’s face it, the devil has that. He wants us to have an intimate knowledge of Him. He wants us to be consumed by Him. When you are in love, that person is the only thing you think about, and that’s the relationship He requires from us.
In verses 4 and 5 He says, “4 I brought glory to you here on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.” So, Jesus knows that He is about to complete His work here on earth and that this has brought glory to the Father. But, did you notice what He said in verse 5? “Bring me into the glory we shared before the world began.” If anyone tries to tell you that Jesus never said He was God, you can show them this verse, and there are several others, but that is another blog.
In verses 6-8 He talks about the work that He completed here on earth when He says, 6 “I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, 8 for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.” Jesus came to reveal the Father to the world. We were always God’s, but Christ opened a pathway directly to the Father, through Himself.
In verse 9 Jesus says, “My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me because they belong to you.” When He says that His prayer is not for the world, it is not saying that He doesn’t care about the world’s plight, 2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent.” He said this because His focus, at that time, was on His disciples. Not just the twelve, but all of us. I like the way Campbell Morgan put it when he said, “He was praying for the instrument He was creating, through which He would reach the world.”
Christ states in verse 10 that, “All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory.” Again, we are created for His glory, that is our purpose.
Verse 11 is where Jesus really starts praying for us, he says, “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.” Christ is praying for us because He is leaving us and going to the Father. I can relate to this. In 2009 Michelle and I had to leave Los Angeles and go to Florida to help my mother. This trip was supposed to be for two months, but it soon became apparent that it was going to be more permanent. At this time, although they were still living with us, our sons were adults, Josh was twenty-three and Caleb was nineteen. But, that didn’t stop us from worrying about them and praying for them daily. Those prayers helped them through that time, which is too lengthy of a story to get into now, but God did bring us all back together six years later. We are all in Los Angeles but now they are both married, and we have six grandkids…God is good! But, what did Christ pray over us? He asked the Father to protect us by the power of His name, and why? So that we will be UNITED, as they are.
If you have been reading my blogs for any length of time, you have seen that I talk a lot about the unity of the body of Christ. The reason I talk about it so much is because this is one of the key themes of the New Testament, and sadly, the body is more divided than ever. We are divided into different denominations, and into different groups within those denominations. And, worst of all, largely we are divided over doctrine that was taken out of context, to begin with, and mostly doesn’t matter. What matters is salvation by grace, through faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ…that’s it. If we ever want the Church to impact our world again, we must be united! We keep blaming everyone else for the state the world is in, whether it be the media, or Muslims, or liberals, but the fact is that IT IS OUR FAULT! Christ told us that a house divided will fall, and we have fallen. But, there is good news, it’s not too late. 2 Chronicles 7:14 tells us that if believers, that’s all of us, will humble ourselves, and pray if we will seek His face and turn from our wicked and divisive ways, He will hear our prayers, forgive our sin, and heal our land. Let’s come together as the body of Christ.
This is only half of this prayer, there is so much more to see, so I will be finishing it next week. Until then, pray for unity and that God will open our eyes to His will.