“I pray for them, I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me.” John 17:9 (NIV)
He poured out his heart and broke ours in the process. His life had begun to unravel years ago and although he had made sincere efforts to stop the chaos he was unable to do so. Now he had to pick up the pieces that were left and wondered where to begin. It was evident that he wished to honour God in the hard decisions he had to make. Damage control was a priority we all recognized. But the issue was, which road should he take to minimize the pain to himself and more importantly to others whom he loved? As is usual in such cases the problem was much easier to see than an honourable solution.
Have you ever been in such a situation where you simply do not know which way to go? You pray and no light turns on for you. Any solution will cause pain and suffering and you seem hopelessly confused at the alternatives that present themselves. It seems a no win situation. Well, the disciples of Jesus were very upset and confused the night Jesus prayed the prayer in John 17. However, there was a glimmer of hope in Jesus’ words that shine through even today.
The disciples, in spite of their confusion and the futility of praying about their tragedies, heard the clear voice of Jesus piercing the fog of their minds. He prayed specifically for them in the hour of their devastation. Jesus targets the disciples in their distress and asks the Father to help them in various ways. It is clear from our verse today that Jesus prays for His people in a way He does not pray for the rest of humanity. There are limits to the work of Jesus and we need to see this if we are going to benefit from His wonderful prayer life.
One man of my acquaintance has told me that he derives much comfort from the fact that I am praying for him as he lives in a tragic situation. His own prayer life is in pieces. He really does not know what to ask God for. The idea that someone who cares is tenderly – and with heartfelt concern for him – representing him and his family before God helps greatly.
Sometimes in life we all need another to step in and do for us what we cannot do for ourselves. If you are a follower of Jesus you have the assurance that He prays faithfully for you and makes certain that you receive what you need for each day. This work of Jesus continues on behalf of His people until they are taken into His eternal presence.
Are you comforted by this reality? Are you one for whom Jesus makes effective prayer? If you are uncertain you need to come to Jesus and pray that He will receive you and make you one of His people. Your prayer can be ever so simple. Jesus told the story of a man in the temple praying and it seems he only said, “God be merciful to me the sinner.” So contrite was he that he would not even lift his face towards heaven. We are told by Jesus that the man went home in a right relationship with God.
Come to the One who prays and things happen. You need the grace and forgiveness He offers. He waits for you to come so come and come today.