Have you ever thought about the question, “If Jesus prayed for me, what would he pray for?” It has become a normal part of my life to pray for people I care about. So far this week, I asked God to help out people in my world who:
- lost a family member
- are looking for work
- are facing decisions for which they need wisdom
- are trying not to blame themselves for the mistakes their kids have made
- are planning their wedding
- launched out on a new business venture
- wish they felt younger
- are thinking about moving
- are trying to become better communicators at home
- are trying to better explain a concept at work
And that is just in the past couple of days. I am confident you could put together your own list if you took just a few minutes to think about it. If it is normal for us to pray for those we care about, it makes sense that Jesus would do the same. It got me to wondering, “what would be on his list for me?” Fortunately, we have some clues in John 17.
The first thing on his heart for you is that your life would bring glory to God. It was the goal of his earthly life and it is always what he is about. “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify.” (v. 1) By implication, he would ask that God works in our lives to that we may glorify him also. It seems to me there is a lot of confusion over what it means to glorify God. It sounds mysterious and spiritual and almost unattainable but it is actually rather simple. We glorify God when others get a better picture of who Jesus is by the way we live. As we learn to forgive ourselves and others, people realize Jesus can forgive them. As we love others by serving them, people realize Jesus is loving. As we recover from setbacks, disappointments and failures, people realize Jesus strongly supports those who are hurting. As we repent from mistakes and seek the grace to recover, people realize Jesus is a righteous judge who wants people to do their best. As we share our story of salvation, people realize Jesus is a committed Savior. The goal of glorify God is to help people get a clearer picture of Jesus.
Second, Jesus prays that we get to know him better. Verse three is the only place I am aware of where eternal life is actually defined. “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” It is a relationship—a growing relationship where you get to know the living God and his Son better with each passing day.
Third, Jesus prays that your heart will be protected so that you can have healthy relationships. “Protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” (v. 11) He doesn’t want you to have great relationships just so you will be happy. He wants you to succeed in your associations so that there might be the kind of unity in your circle of influence that glorifies God. “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
Fourth, Jesus would pray that you would be better a year from now than you are today. “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.” (v. 17) Sanctify is a word that simply means you are growing and better able to apply the truth of God’s word to your life than you used to be. It is not a demand for practical perfection. It is a charge to grow. The normal process of life is to get better. Growing people get stronger, wiser, more skilled and less frazzled. The world we live in constantly tries to draw us away to foolishness, selfishness and silliness. Jesus asks the Father to give us the grace and motivation to be better as time goes on.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list but I am encouraged that I am on his list.
“Jesus, thank you for representing us before your Father. Glorify yourself in us and help us all be better a year from now than we are today.”