Monday, May 14, 2007

Praying with Jesus in John 17:20-26 Easter 7C

Jesus' prayer in John 17 stands out revealing some of his relationship with God the Father and some of his hopes and dreams for those who would follow him. We in the church try to live out his teachings and follow his example. Prayer was a key part of Jesus' life. He went away from his friends to pray, he taught them to pray, he prayed deep into the night before his death. Prayer was as much a part of Jesus life as eating and drinking.

A couple years ago there were bracelets with the letters WWJD popping up all around reminding people to ask the big question, "What Would Jesus Do?" It's a great question to wrestle with; not only in moments of moral or ethical decision but also in the little decisions about how we live and how we treat people around us. The question WWJD? is one way to think about prayer. There's no question that Jesus prayed.

Reading John 17 I am amazed by how focussed Jesus was in his prayer and how unfocused I am in my own prayer. Jesus prayed for his friends and for all who would come to believe in him. He prayed for the safety of his friends in the face of the enemy. Jesus asked for unity among believers and opportunity to reveal even more of God's love to the world. His prayer astounds me as I read it.

One thing I wrestle with as I read this prayer is my own prayer life. I've learned that I can't pray like Jesus. I am not a god. I am a man who comes to God in prayer and finds distractions and challenges all around me. We aren't gods. Yes, Jesus prayed deep into the night after supper but Luke tells us that his disciples fell asleep as he prayed. Yes Jesus prayed deep into the night for his followers, yes he prayed deep into the night for those who would come to know him through them, but sometimes we will be like the disciples, our prayers will fall short. Jesus is a model of how prayer can work. And yes we can follow his model; but we are still in need of a savior.

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