“I will remain in the world no longer,
but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you.
Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name,
the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.”
John 17:11 (NIV)
Often when looking for a church, people will chose a church on the basis of their own preferences. For example they might wish a certain form of music. Some people love a pipe organ and think it adds immeasurably to the singing. Others prefer guitars and drums. Some, like the Christians I met in Africa, want the sermon to be at least an hour long and preferably an hour and a half to two hours long.
What is sad, in my estimation, is that no one seems to care about what Jesus wants in church worship and praise to Him. So when it comes to some of our Christian activities we never give a thought to what our Lord wishes. All we can see on our horizon is what we want in the matter.
Some years ago I made a detailed study of John 17 and it revolutionized my prayer life. I am speaking especially of the petitions of our Lord for His people recorded there. The things Jesus asked from the Father on behalf of His church were things that I never thought of seeking for myself.
I believe that if Christians seriously asked themselves “What does Jesus want in my prayer life?” they might be surprised at the answers given in the Bible. John 17 is an amazing look into the heart and mind of our Saviour and deserves detailed consideration.
The first thing Jesus seeks from the Father for His people is protection. Here is something that people usually think of only in terms of the physical. Jesus cannot mean physical protection because He knew and prophesied that some would die a martyr’s death. So much for the physical.
Surely our Lord is primarily concerned about the spiritual protection of His followers. As we see in Luke 22:31-32 Jesus prays for our spiritual protection. Yet, we usually think firstly in terms of the physical rather than the spiritual.
Perhaps this is where you need to begin revising your prayer life. Put your physical concerns far down in the list of what is important and raise to the top your desire for spiritual growth and strength. Recognize that we are in a battle for truth and righteousness. We need the “full armour of God” (Ephesians 6:13) if we hope to win spiritual battles.
Before you begin your prayer time today, ask yourself, “What does Jesus want in my prayers?” Then get busy in prayer and you shall prosper in this wonderfully important spiritual exercise.