The Prayer of Jesus Essay
The Prayer of Jesus
Prayer is said to be the foundation for any spiritual life and lifestyle – The Prayer of Jesus Essay introduction. It is as blood to the flesh, strength to the bones and, subsistence to the soul. It is a greatly elemental activity that’s consisted in Jesus’ ministry at the time He walked this earth and even in heaven. Jesus prayed not as a lifestyle, but it is His life–to constantly commune and be one with the Father. It is through prayer that He draws his verve from. The Bible holds record of His prayers and a famous one is accounted in John 17. This prayer maybe considered as somewhat set out from the others because of its significance and meaning and, it is the only prayer recorded where Jesus entreated the Father for the disciples, His would-be followers and believers and, the church. It is more of intercessory in manner, with Jesus portraying His role as an intercessor between God and humanity and, as a High Priest praying on our behalf. This prayer has been regarded in itself as “the high priestly prayer” as written by Thomas Whitelaw:
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From the circumstance, that it partook of the nature partly of a prayer of consecration, in which Christ prepared Himself for and devoted Himself to the offering of death (ver.19), and partly a prayer of intercession, in which He pled with His Father I behalf of His own (ver.20), it has been styled oratio sacerdotalis, the sacerdotal or high priestly prayer. And, indeed, in listening to its solemn tones or reading in silence its sacred thoughts, one feels as if standing beside the world’s High Priest in the Holy of Holies, as if overhearing the incarnate Son pouring out His heart before the Father in dedication of Himself to His great work of dying, and in supplication of grace for His believing followers. For simplicity of language and loftiness of thought, for religious fervor and spiritual power, this prayer has won the admiration of Christians in every age. (Whitelaw 1993, 348)
The context of this prayer may be understood through both its relative historical and literary backgrounds. A believer and follower of Christ, or a saint would know of his Biblical election to Royal Priesthood. A knowledge or belief in this would be grounded upon these Scriptural passages:
But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light:
And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.
And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.
A fitting and sufficient information of Jesus Christ’s priesthood authority and election are traceable to the Old Testament times, very long before He became as human, effectual and transcendent until as covered in the book of Revelation, forever and ever. Literary-wise the whole chapter of John 17 can be parted into three main synopses. The first part being the appeal for glorification of Jesus himself and the Father, contained in verses 1-5. The second part would be described as Jesus’ plea in behalf of the disciples, found in verses 6-19. The last apportionment is the intercession for the believers, summed up in verses 20-26.
It was then at the moment when Jesus knew that the hour of His death would come soon when He cried out this prayer to the Father. This background is essential in interpreting the prayer itself. Jesus knew what was soon to come to pass, and this prayer was His act of willful surrender to what the Father laid upon Him.
The first part of this prayer is an appeal for glorification. For Christ, His glorification would mean His death. He asked that the Father glorify Him. Glorify, in this context means to make glorious or to cause so to appear. Jesus knew that the He is glorified at His death and in entreating the Father that He be glorified, Christ had no less submitted to His Father’s will as He always does proving that He and the Father are one. The fifth verse of this chapter furthers that Jesus’ glory innate and with the Father.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
The second part of this prayer’s synopsis is centered on Jesus’ plea for His disciples. It runs through from verses 6-19. Encapsulated within these verses are the apostles’ election, anointing, as with Jesus and the Father’s claim, guidance and protection on them and most importantly, their consecration through the sanctification and offering up of Jesus for them. In these verses, Jesus said that the disciples were not of the world, given by the Father to Jesus himself and that they are the Father’s as well, referring to the apostles’ unction or anointing, even preordination. The next paragraph is a commentary on this part of the prayer:
Because the disciples have God’s truth they are set apart and sent into the world, just as Jesus was (v. 18). Like him they are to be in the world but not of it, judging and calling the world by being the presence of God’s light, bearing witness to his love and offering his life in the midst of the world. They share in the very life of God in the Son of God through the Spirit of God, and thus they do the work of God as Jesus has done, revealing God’s love and life and light. In this way, all three aspects of sanctification are evident: they are set apart to enter God’s presence, indeed, to have his presence enter them; they are commissioned for holy service; and they constitute the holy people of God, restored Israel, who are distinct from all others in the world because of the divine presence.
The third part of this intercessory prayer is centered on His supplication for the believers or for the Church. The most evident or what seems to be the most important thing that Jesus asked the Father for the church is unity. Not just any type of unity but a unity that resembles and is grounded on His and the Father’s. The book “The Training of the Twelve” goes on to discuss the unity that Jesus was praying for the Church:
The one blessing He expressly asks for the Church is “unity”. His heart’s desire for believers is “that they may all be one”. His ideal of the Church’s unity is very high, its divine exemplar being the unity subsisting between the persons in the Godhead, and specially between the Father and the Son, and its ground the same divine unity: one as we are one, and in us who are one,” bound together as closely and harmoniously by the common name into which they are baptized, and by which they are called. (Bruce, 2007, 459)
Jesus had, in a single prayer, linked the past, present, and future. By being the High Priest standing between the Father and those He represents, Jesus fulfilled his ordination from time immemorial. By praying for His disciples, He acknowledged His present work and, in praying for the Church, He thought of the future and placed it under the hands of God Himself.
Just like the rest of the written texts in the Bible, this prayer is considered the Word of God and this particular prayer is uttered straight from the mouth of the Savior. It speaks of His heart. This prayer depicts Jesus undying and sacrificial love and devotion for those that were given to Him by the Father. In reading the whole verse, one would apparently notice tones of sincerity, divine love, and unwavering commitment in the Savior’s words. There is an intensity to this prayer that seems to overwhelm clouds of weakness, disbelief and hopelessness. It truly would prove more than inspiring for a believer to know how Jesus prayed for those He calls His own. There is a sense of security brought about by knowing that Jesus Himself continues to plead and intercede for our cause. Knowing that the Savior Himself interceded for our cause puts all of a believer’s true identity, which is in unity or oneness with God on solid ground.
The Church’s as well as every Christian’s calling is to be one with the Father, as the Father and Jesus are one. This connotes devotion, requires a faith that is to stand the test of time and endure to the end. The Church is to be devoted to the person in God or of God not to the cause of God alone. Jesus’ devotion and unity with the Father is intimate and personal, He was committed to the person of the Father, not to a cause, had it been for a cause alone Jesus would not have considered praying for the Church and future believers to be united with the Father as intensely. Jesus was praying for a bond that transcends oneness in thought or purpose, but
oneness in being, a unity in all its exquisiteness and at its highest standards, even in Spirit and truth.
As application, believers ought to carefully examine and re-examine their personal relationship and commitment to God. Oswald Chambers in his bestselling devotional “My Utmost For His Highest teaches that by reading John 17, we find an explanation for any struggle a Christian would be facing:
If you are going through a time of isolation, seemingly all alone, read John 17. It will explain exactly why you are where you are—because Jesus has prayed that you “may be one” with the Father as He is. Are you helping God to answer that prayer, or do you have some other goal for your life? Since you became a disciple, you cannot be as independent as you used to be.
God reveals in John 17 that His purpose is not just an answer to our prayers, but that through prayer we might come to discern His mind. Yet there is one prayer which God must answer, and that is the prayer of Jesus—“…that they may be one just as We are one…”(17:22). Are we as close to Jesus Christ as that? (Chambers, Updated Ed, May 22)
John 17 not only is a prayer that should be read and meditated upon. Like the Word of God as a whole, it calls for study and more than that, it calls for real-life application. To know of one’s descent from a Royal Priesthood, one’s anointing and calling and; knowing that all these are what evoked Jesus to pray for us as His believers is sufficient in itself to edify, establish and strengthen faith and unswerving dedication. Enough to make us understand what Jesus’ intention was in praying this prayer and to what extent was He willing to die, give and live to see us walk in it the same way He did.
Bruce, Alexander B. The Training of the Twelve, New York: Cosimo Inc., 2007
Chambers, Oswald. My Utmost For His Highest Updated Ed. In Today’s Language, Michigan: Discovery House Publishers, 1992
King James Version of the Holy Bible
Whitelaw, Thomas. Commentary on John Reprint Ed., Michigan: Kregel Pubications, 1993
 1st Peter 2:9, The Holy Bible, King James Version
 Exodus 19:6, The Holy Bible, King James Version
 Revelation 1:5-6, The Holy Bible, King James Version
(Result of subject search on term “bible dictionary” in online catalog of Biblog.com <http://refbible.com/g/glorify.htm> [13 June 2009])
 John 17:5, The Holy Bible, King James Version
(Result of subject search on term “John 17 commentary” in online catalog of BibleGateway.com <http://www.biblegateway.com/resources/commentaries/?action=getCommentaryText&cid=4&source=1&seq=i.50.17.1> [13 June 2009])