Praying Like Jesus

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I want to invite you to John chapter 17. John 17 is where we’re going to be today. This is a powerful section of scripture and we’re dealing with prayer in this section of scripture. I like to think of it like this. If you want to have a powerful prayer life, you want to be close to the heart of God, you want to pray with the heart of God, and you can’t pray the heart of God without knowing the word of God. The word of God is where God communicates his heart.

It’s like, well, you read Ephesians 6, and it tells you put on the whole armor of God. And the last thing it tells you is, and take up your sword, which is the word of God. And then it goes on after it says, take up the sword, the word of God, and then it says, pray. It’s like the way you get to the point that you know how to pray is you’ve learned to pray the heart of God and you’ve learned to pray the heart of God, because you know the word of God.

Now saying all that, I don’t think you need to know everything about God’s word. If you’re new to the Christian faith, you’re like, “Ah, the Bible seems overwhelming and big. How do I know all of the Bible in order to pray God’s word?” I would just relieve that a little bit in saying, “Look, you should know God’s word. He’s communicated to you a reason.” But when you start praying before the Lord, you don’t have to know all of God’s word.

What you recognize is you start to read the word of God as God perpetuates his heart throughout all of scripture. So as you start to read the word of God, you see in each book, God’s heart continuing to be communicated and you can get in rhythm with what God’s heart is and learn to better pray with God’s heart as you go through God’s word. And one of the things I love in saying all of that to us is for me, and I’ve shared this with you is my favorite section in all of the Bible is where we’ve been recently.

John chapter 13 and John chapter 17, because this is the section of scripture or Jesus is spending his final moments on earth in the most intimate settings with his disciples in the upper room, teaching some of the most beautiful lessons he’s taught on the idea of being a disciple. At John 13, you start to see the heartbeat of Christ, continuing to be communicated, just being consistent in his character and in his purpose all the way through, even to the point of death. And in John 13, you see it Jesus washes the feet of the disciples, takes the form of the servant of servants, even washing the feet of Judas.

And then John 13, he also tells us to love one another as he has loved us. And then chapter 14, in the beginning he celebrates communion with his disciples, which is a reminder of the sacrifice he’s made for us. And it’s in connection to the Passover because Jesus has become that Passover lamb. And he starts talking in John 14, 15, and 16 about the spirit of God as he’s leaving that there’s no reason to carry concern because God is not abandoning you as orphans.

He’s bringing his spirit and the spirit of God would not only be with you, he will be in you. And he is like Christ, meaning he is God as well as a part of the triunity. Jesus is communicating to us that God’s presence in you and with you. So he talks about how that communion brings us into relationship with God because of this sacrifice. Then in 15, he goes on to describe us and the beauty of that, that you are a part of the vine.

He is the vine and we are the branches and we will bear much fruit in him that greater works than these Jesus says you will do. And Jesus is looking at his ministry in Jerusalem. And he is saying, “You think this is great. You haven’t seen anything yet. Wait until this spirit of God empowers God’s people throughout all of the world. It’s going to be incredible in how God’s people live for Jesus and the things that are accomplished in our lives as we strive together for him. So greater works in these, you will do.

Then you get to chapter 16, and we talked about this last week, the joy and peace that we have in Christ. This just a beautiful section of scripture what it looks like in the following Christ and being fully devoted to him, committed to him and how that relationship works. And then you get to chapter 17. When I think about the beauty of these chapters and how important they are, there is chapter 13, 14, 15, 16. And then for me, there is chapter 17.

In chapter 17, when I think of all of these, if I put one of them as the most important for me, out of what I think is the greatest section of scripture. It’s chapter 17. Some people consider this the most sacred text in all of the Bible. All of it’s really inspired of God. All of it is sacred, but there’s something unique about this text that sets it all apart.

In fact, theologians referred to this section of scripture as the high priestly prayer. Now, I said to you in the beginning, you want a powerful prayer life. The way to have a powerful prayer life is to get close to the heart of God. And the way to get it close to the heart of God is to understand who God is and the way you understand who God is, is through his word.

But in chapter 17, you’re not only seeing God revealed in his word, but you’re seeing God himself pray his own heart. And this becomes a very sacred text to just ask the question, what would Jesus pray? And this is the final thing Jesus is involved in doing before goes to the cross. And Jesus in these moments, he chooses to pray and the disciples are invited to this very intimate setting to hear the heart of Christ praying.

And it gives us a place in our own prayer life to consider how powerful this is and this sacred text of scripture refer to Jesus as high priestly prayer. I think that’s a good way to look at this Jesus high priestly prayer talking about the intimacy that he has with the father. And he’s praying on our behalf. We’ll see in these moments. But I often refer to this as the Lord’s prayer. I know some of you, if you’ve studied scripture, you’re like, wait a minute. There’s already a section of scripture called the Lord’s prayer. That’s Matthew chapter 6.

We pray in this way. Our father who art in heaven, hollowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses. We forgive those who trespass against us. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, forever and ever. Amen. Right? Matthew 6, that’s the Lord’s prayer. And I say, baloney. We got it wrong in labeling it the Lord’s prayer because when Jesus gives us that prayer, he gives us that prayer on the backdrop of the disciples saying, Jesus, teach us to pray.

So Jesus then demonstrates for his disciples, Matthew 6, how to pray. But I don’t think that it’s correct to call it the Lord’s prayer. I think it’s better referred to as the disciple’s prayer, because Jesus is teaching the disciples to pray. You want to know the Lord’s prayer, John chapter 17, that is the Lord’s prayer. This is where you get to see the heart of God, and it’s the heart of God on your behalf. So what does Jesus pray?

And in looking at this, we get to learn how to pray ourselves or praying like Jesus. So the first question in your notes, if you’ve got this, if you picked up the notes this morning, what does Jesus pray? Number one, he prays for himself. He prays for himself. Verse 1 reads like this for us. It says Jesus spoke these things and lifting up his eyes to heaven he said, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your son, that the son may glorify you.” Jesus, prays for himself. And you may look at this and think, well, just how selfish.

Here he is in these moments and he’s just thinking about himself. Who starts off praying? Real servants don’t start off praying for themselves, they pray for everything else and pray for themselves last. But I think we’ve seen enough of Jesus to see he’s got the servant of servant’s hearts, right? He’s washing the feet of even his enemies. He has communion with Judas who’s betraying him. He knows all the disciples are about to run away from him and Jesus does nothing, but continue to think about him up until the last hours.

And finally, in these moments, he prays and he prays for himself. But even in praying for himself, he’s still not self-seeking. And we’ll see that in just a moment, but Jesus is just continuing to pray in connection to the father for the purpose of living out his mission. And how important is that? Because you think about in your own life, you could spend all of your time praying for other things or other people, right?

But the reality is if your walk with God isn’t healthy, the rest of that won’t work. And you look at how Jesus begins this prayer. I think it’s important for us to say, if Jesus found need to pray for himself first, what about you? What does your soul need? I’ve heard a lot of people in the last year and a half or however long we’ve been in this COVID thing. We are creatures of habit. We like habit. When you break our habit, we oftentimes don’t do well with broken habit for very long.

We can do it for a little bit, but you get us out of our normal rhythms of life for a sustained period of time. It starts to weigh on you. And from time to time, I’ll hear people communicate just how they feel, because things are just different. It’s not what they’re used to. And just look at a prayer like this with Jesus and just in consideration of yourself, just ask the question. Where is your soul right now?

If Jesus starts by praying for himself, how much more should we begin? I mean, this is Jesus. What does your soul need? When was the last time can remember where you pause very serious in your heart before the Lord and just considered the state of your soul before him. I mean, if you could pray anything right now for where you are and what you need, what would you ask God?

What does Jesus pray? Jesus prays for himself. And the beauty of this is God, in this prayer, it’s important to know he is concerned for your wellbeing. Because if you’re not healthy, the way he desires to shine through you in this world, doesn’t work at all that healthy. God’s concern for your heart. And then the second question, we have in your notes here is why does Jesus pray?

Why does Jesus pray? And we see this in verse 1 as he really lays out. We’ll talk specifically about what Jesus says here, but the answer in your blank is this. He prays to glorify the father. He prays to glorify the father. And you see this communicated. If I just walked us through moment by moment through each section of this verse, I’m not going to do this through all of the verses. We’re going to look at all the way to verse 8, but I’m just going to do it through this section, just chunk by chunk for a minute.

He says, and Jesus spoke these things, you can go back… I don’t want to hit that up yet. And Jesus spoke these things and he says, and lifting up his eyes to heaven. Lifting up his eyes to heaven. So he is talking about his posture here. He’s remaining fixed on where his mission is in this world. He’s lifting his eyes to heaven as if to say before us, by his posture that he recognizes his home is not in this world, that he belongs to the Lord, his eyes, as he belongs to the father, he came on mission for what the father had called him to.

So his eyes are towards heaven. He sees this world as broken this world as sinful, this world as fading away. He knows we need to live for a different kingdom that will live forever. So he’s lifting his eyes in the heaven. Oftentimes, when you read in scripture, you’ll see a couple of postures that is more formal to the Jewish way of prayer that is lifting their eyes and sometimes even lifting their hands a little different than the way we pray today.

We pray the more boring way. You fold your arms or you put your arms down or clasp your hands together. And you bow your head and close your eyes. I’m not saying that that’s wrong. It’s just the posture is a little more reserved, right? I know why we do it today. You got young kids. You want to teach your kids in the faith to follow after the Lord and you teach them how to pray. And if you let their hands be free, their hands might go places, right?

So they’re opening eyes. They can get very distracted. So we have a different form of reverence, but the important part is that it’s reverent. It’s reminding us of the authority for which we are living our lives. Our kingdom is not of this world. And while he’s recognizing that his life is for a different kingdom, he then uses this word. He lift his eyes to heaven. He said, “Father.” Father. Historians will tell you that theologically that what Jesus is doing here by referencing God this way is very unique.

It’s not the way typically people would interact with God. They often saw God as this distant being of which they found unrelatable. Not Jesus. Jesus teaches us to pray in a different way, right? Jesus teaches us to pray Matthew 6, our father. Our father who is in heaven. It’s a word of intimacy. It’s a word that draws you near. I mean the heart of a father should be in favor of the success for his children. And by this word, this is what God is communicating his desire for us, to draw you in, to calm your heart, to bring in here, to say to you that God is concerned for your life.

We talk about topic of prayer and sometimes I know when I immediately say something about you want to pray well, you got to go know God’s word, and all of a sudden we start feeling guilty not knowing enough about God’s word not praying like we should on my word. I got to get out of here and pray better. And we start stressing out about praying better. How can I pray better?

But let me just tell you this. If you want to get better at praying, don’t focus on getting better at praying. Focus on your father, focus on your relationship with him. Because when you get intimate in relationship with someone, it’s easier to communicate.

It comes easier to relate and to share your heart. When you go through difficult times, the first one you want to talk to is the one that you’re closest to. And when you got something to celebrate, the first one you want to call is the one that you’re closest to. And what Jesus in the story, what he’s showing us is this intimacy that he has to the Lord. He’s just always tethered there because he’s close. He has the son connecting to the father and he’s showing us how to mimic this in our own lives, our father.

Then he says this, the hour has come and you can go ahead so you can give me a click here. The hour has come. And this is a word of reflection for us because this thought has been communicated throughout all of John. I’ve highlighted it for us a few times as we’ve gone through this together. I’m doing it again, just in case we forgot because we’ve been in this for a little bit, right?

In John chapter two, this is the first time Jesus uses the phrase and it’s at the wedding feast where Jesus turns water into wine. He throws the best parties apparently in John chapter two. And in verse 4, when Jesus’s mother asked him to turn water into wine, the comment that he makes is just strange. “Woman, what does that have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”

What we find out when you look at the story is that Jesus’ mind isn’t really fixated just on this particular wedding. Jesus’ mind is fixed on the greater wedding, which the greater wedding feast that he has come with his own life to bring his bride into, which is his church. So his acknowledging for us while he’s going to turn this water into wine, that this isn’t the real miracle that he’s here for, that the real miracle he is here for is to gather his church, his bride in his name, and by his sacrifice.

That was the hour. And now in John 17, Jesus would’ve perked up the year of his disciples who were listening to this prayer because Jesus is now saying that hour that I kept reminding you wasn’t ready yet, hadn’t come yet, wasn’t the time yet. Now, that hour has come.

And then Jesus gives the statement, “Glorify your son, that the son may glorify you. Glorify your son, that the son may glorify you.” I just want to make a couple of comments about the idea of Jesus praying for glorification here and how that might relate to your life. And then talking about the father and his glory. I think the first question we could ask and look in this passage is why does Jesus pray to be glorified if he’s already God?

That seems a little bit strange, right? Jesus has told us that he’s God, I and the father. John 10:30, “I and the father are one.” And Jews picked up stones to stone him and he says, “For which of these good works are you stoning me?” And they say, “Because you being a mere man, make yourself out equal to be God.” It’s very clearly understood what Jesus was saying about himself.

Jesus saw himself as God. Even the apostle Paul, as he wrote letters, he said, “In him, the fullness of deity dwells in bodily form.” In Colossians 2:9, you want to see God look at Jesus. In fact, in John 14:6-9, the disciples asked him, “Show us the father.” And Jesus says to them, “He who has seen me has seen the father.” And the reason he gives that claim is he’s telling us he’s God in the flesh. And yet being God in the flesh, he’s asking to be glorified. How can you be any more glorified if you’re God?

Well, the answer is something theologians refer to as the hypostatic union. Dinner table conversations. How many times you sat around talking about that one? And what this means is in Jesus, you have 100% God and you also have 100% man. It’s important for Jesus to carry both natures for us, because if he’s not 100%, man, he’s not a sufficient sacrifice on your behalf in this world. Jesus can never die for your sins unless he became who you are or like you. 100% man.

And he couldn’t be sufficient in his sacrifice for you unless he was 100% God, because it takes an eternal God to pay for an eternal sin, committed against the Lord in a finite way. You being a finite being will pay an eternal consequence for your eternal sins against God. But because he’s an eternal being, he pays a finite payment for your sins. He must be both God and man, and yet he’s praying for a glorious God. How is that so?

Well, Jesus, in this prayer, when he is asking to, to be glorified, what he’s recognizing for us is his position as a human. His personhood remains deity, but his position in these moments is the form of a servant. While he was God, he becomes flesh and in flesh takes on the servant of servants to the point he even wash his feet and dies on the cross. So in his servanthood position, he’s asking the father to elevate that position for you and for me.

So the question we ask related to that is, “Well, if Jesus prayed this kind of prayer, glorify me that I may glorify you father, can we pray to be glorified? Is that even an okay prayer to pray that God glorify me, right? That seems a little… I went back and looked up in the New Testament, is that word even used in relationship to any prayer that a human being prays like, “God glorify me.” Right? That just seems blasphemous to me. I don’t know how you think about that, but that feels a little blasphemous.

I looked it up and I found out the only time the word glory is used in relation to a human being, it’s all connected to really God except for one verse. I found one verse in the New Testament, it only looked through the New Testament. It was in 1 Corinthians 12:26. And that’s where the passage says weep with those who weep. And then it says honor with those who are rejoicing. And the word honor there means glorify.

It’s being celebrated with them. When they’re honored, all of God’s people can celebrate, because really all of God’s people get honored with that. When one of you succeeds, we all succeed. We’re in Jesus together, right? We’re all the bride of Christ. So it talks about honoring to one another, but you don’t really see someone coming to God and be like, “Glorify me God, because I’m awesome.”

But when I think about it, sometimes, sometimes without recognize it, we may pray that way. We may pray that way. And let me give you an example why. We may come to God in our discomfort simply because all we want is for God to make things comfortable, because we want life to go back to the way things are, simplicity and the easiness of things, and just do our thing.

We might look like this in our prayer because we’re not real connected to God and maybe really thinking about mission and all we want is our glory. We’ll come to God maybe like this, we’ll say. God, it’s me again. You’re one of your earthlings. Here I am God. Here’s a list of things that if you could fix this for me would make my life more convenient. And I’ll come back and talk to you again when I have another list of things that are inconvenient. Until then, I’ll see you later.

We just kind of pray that way. We just give God this laundry list of things that we don’t like about life and that’s as far as our relationship goes, but to be honest, it never feels right. And the reason it doesn’t feel right is because we only use God for our punching bag, man. We just come to God just to take things. You know how that is in your earthly relationships.

If you just have a friend that or someone you might call a friend, and the only reason you go to that friend is because there’s something you want from that friend. It just makes that relationship feel weird because that’s not what relationships are about, right? Relationships are intended to be a two-way street, where you’re just investing in giving of yourself to one another. That’s the beauty of relationship. And if all your prayer life looks like is just coming to God and just asking for things for your own glory, and that’s it. What you’re communicating is the whole point of your relationship is about you and your glory. And it’s really no relationship at all.

Prayer life is intended to be about relationship, right? Our father. It’s a word of intimacy. It’s a word of communicating with God more than just a list of things I want like he’s some secret Santa Claus. He’s God and he’s giving you an open door to connect to him. Father.

When we think about those kind of prayers, here’s the reality. If all we pray and all we do is come to God when we have a want and it’s just like this. And God, when we’re done with this conversation, we’ll just push you aside until I need you again. What we’re looking for is God to glorify us simply so that we’re blessed. In the end, the blessing just ends with you.

But if we’re seeking God for his glory, the reality is not only are we blessed in that, but the blessing doesn’t end with us. The blessing will bless all of God’s people because when we strive for God’s glory, that’s the result in pursuing God selflessly. And I’m not saying it’s wrong to come to God in your needs. Jesus is coming to the father in his need.

I’m not saying that that is bad to tell God if you’ve got something that you’re struggling with, but what I’m encouraging us to think about is how then it becomes impactful for the greater mission that God calls us on in this world for his glory. And you think about in these moments, here’s how Jesus could have prayed. He could have come to God for just his glory and left it there.

His prayer could have been glorify your son and then that’s it. And then if you did that, the prayer would’ve looked like this. “Father, there’s some really bad guys out there. They’re going to do some really bad things to me. Kill them and take me with you. I mean, just about my blessing here. I just want it for me, Lord. It’s all about my glory and my glory.” But that’s not where Jesus ends here.

What Jesus is praying for, yes, he’s asking for glory, but he’s asking for glory in the cross. He’s not asking for glory so everyone just sees him as super popular and amazing. He’s asking for glory to serve in the capacity that God’s called him to as a servant in giving his life. It’s not selfish, it’s selfless. So that God would be glorified. And here’s the result. Because Jesus is living on mission for the father’s glory, all of God’s people are blessed. All of God’s people have the opportunity, even this morning to rejoice in what this prayer is because Jesus lived selflessly.

When you look at 2 Timothy 1:8, it says this, and I think we have it on the screen here. And thinking about the importance of our own life, not just to live life or personal pleasure, but to see where God has us and leveraging that for his glory. Paul says this, last letter he wrote before he died, “Don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me, his prisoner. Instead, share it in the suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.”

There’s a struggle in the gospel. Now, I’m not telling you that this verse is saying, “Go out and find suffering and then live for God’s glory.” This is not a seek suffering verse. That’s not what this verse is. This is Paul writing to the church that’s enduring hardship. Paul is about to die because of his faith in Christ. And he knows the church is going to go through some persecution because of their faith in Christ.

Some hardship is happening because their faith in Christ and he’s just encouraging them to not just run away from that, but to see if God can leverage that for his glory. Same for Jesus. This cross leveraged for the glory of God to the blessing of all people. And sometimes in our prayer life, I think we think that what God’s will is, is for our creature comfort.

God, my whole prayer life centers on you making things easy for me. So take away all the hard things. But the truth is when you read the gospels, you see that God isn’t always interested in taking away the hard things. God isn’t always interested in taking away the storms of our life, but rather what he’s interested is the heart of the believer going through the storm, because God knows if he can strengthen your heart in that struggle, then you have the confidence to walk with Jesus no matter where you’re going with him in this world.

And that’s what he says, sharing the suffering for the gospel. Look, here’s why. Relying on the power of God. Relying on the power of God. God could remove all the hard things in life all day long, but the reality is in that, there’s no relationship there. God make it easy. Okay. We’ll be back when all of this is gone. And we’ll just talk to you again the next time we have something hard.

The Lord is teaching us even in struggle is that he is sufficient. He can sustain us. He can carry us through. And the result when we seek the glory of God in our circumstance is not only are we blessed, but so is everyone else. In verse 2 to 8, you see that. What are the results? It’s the last point of the results. We are blessed.

We are blessed. Now, I told you in the beginning, we’re going to learn to pray like God, and we’re actually looking at what Jesus prays and what Jesus prays here is for himself. But honestly, Jesus’s prayer for himself is just one verse. It’s just verse 1, verse 2 to 8 is the result of that prayer. And Jesus is going to talk about the result of that prayer as he continues to pray.

But verse one is really Jesus’ prayer and the rest is a result. And through our rest of the time in John chapter 17, we’re going to look at that this week, but in verse 9, we’ll look at next week where Jesus then prays for his disciples. And in verse 20, he then starts to pray for his future followers. And it’s all beautiful. It’s very encouraging and hearing what God’s heart is specifically for us.

But in this passage, we’re seeing Jesus’ heart in these moments for what he desires to bless our lives with in verse 2 to 8. In verse two, he says this, even as you gave him authority over all flesh to all whom you have given him, he may give eternal life. So Jesus is saying the result of this, as you elevate me to glorify me on the cross that I may glorify you, father, the blessing of this for others is that they get eternal life.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to die, right? If I think about you can have life or you can have death, I pick life right now. I want life. But I’ve found in my Christian life early on that I had a very skewed picture of what life was. If you asked me to define what is eternal life, I would’ve probably said living forever. And then I’ve learned to thank God for John 17:3 because it tells us really what eternal life is.

He says, “This is eternal life that they may know you, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.” You know what eternal life is? It’s not the shallow idea of just living forever, it’s being connected to your creator. That’s life. And the reason is because he is life. The only reason we’re breathing right now is because his grace allows us to sustain life. He holds all things in his hands. And to be connected to him is to be connected to life.

God created you to belong to him. God created you for relationship in him. The blessing of Jesus seeking the glory of the father is that we get life. The blessing of you seeking the glory of the father is that Jesus uses you to communicate this life to others, and you walk in life yourself in a relationship to God.

This is eternal life that you may know him. The only true God and Jesus Christ whom he has sinned. 1 John 2:23 says it like this, “Whomever denies the son does not have the father. The one who confesses the son also has the father being connected to Jesus is being connected to the father. They’re one. And Jesus’ desire for our lives is to experience the blessing of walking in relationship to God.

And then in verse 4, he goes on from there and he says this. This is a very precious section of scripture. He says, “I glorified you on the earth having accomplished the work which you have given me to do.” The reason I love this section… We’ve already talked about this idea of glory a little bit, but I want to lean into it a little more because now Jesus is talking about a past tense.

And this again, I think is really going all the way back to the beginning of John 4. Jesus is tying it all together because when John is introducing Jesus in the Book of John, he’s in the first 18 verses powerfully laying out who Jesus is and his identity. One of the things that he says in verse 14, he says and the word became flesh, and the word is Jesus. The word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we saw his glory, the glories of the only begotten from the father full of grace and truth.

Now for us, this is just a great verse. Jesus is here and glory is in the flesh. It’s great. For the Jewish mind, this goes to a whole nother level because first century Jewish mind, if you wanted to experience the presence of God, the place that you went was the temple. And you went to the temple because in the Holy of Holies, that is where God dwelled. If you wanted to get near to God, you got near the temple. But the reality was even in desiring to get near to God, you couldn’t go into the place where God actually dwelled.

That was for the priests. They would go into the holy place. But truthfully, there was only one priest that could go into the Holy of Holies where God’s presence dwelled. And that was the high priest. And he could only do it one time of year. And when he went, he had to fill the room with smoke so that God’s glory cloud was covered. So they would get near God, but not really.

Now, all of a sudden Jesus is gone. And now if you want to get near the presence of God, you don’t have to go to the temple because the temple is walking before us. The very presence of God in flesh, you can get near to him. And Jesus is now looking at this moment saying he’s culminated all that. He has glorified God on Earth having accomplished the work. And what he’s saying to us is he has now blown the doors of heaven wide open that all of God’s people can gather before the presence of God, anytime, anywhere, no matter where you are, because the presence of God is going to dwell in you.

He’s communicated to that to us in chapter 14, 15, 16 about this spirit. You are the temple of God. He’s saying to the father, “Father, I have done this. I have done this work. I glorified you on the earth and have accomplished the work which you have given me. Now, Jesus talking past tense here. But I think he’s talking in terms of even the cross like Jesus is saying, “Look, I’ve been consistent all the way to this point. And I’m going to continue to be consistent to the point of being the full sacrifice on the cross. I have glorified you completely. And some may ask, “Well, how do you know. How do you know that Jesus is really referring to having finished his accomplished work on the cross? Jesus isn’t even on the cross here yet. How do you know he’s just not talking about the way he lived his life up into this point.”

Well, and I would say the answer to that is in verse 5 because in verse 5, what you find… If you can give me a click, Celia. Verse 5, what you find is Jesus in this moment then springboards ahead to thinking about being with the father again. He’s come to the earth. He’s been in servant and now he’s going to the father again. He says, “Now, father, glorify me together with yourself, which the glory, which I had with you before the world was.”

What he’s acknowledging is before Christ became flesh in all of eternity, he ruled and reigned. He was God. Colossians 1:15-17 says he made all things, principalities and powers, spiritual, all things, spiritual and physical, and he holds all things into his hands, all things consistent in Jesus. That was him and he becomes the servant of servants.

While his personhood was God, he takes on a different position. Now, he’s to return again in his glory. And Jesus is thinking about all of that accomplished work on your behalf and on mine as he blew open the doors of heaven for you and for me.

Then in verse 6 to 8, he says, “I have manifested your name to the men whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours and you gave them to me. And they have kept your word. Now, they have come to know that everything you have given me is from you for the words, which you have given me, I have given to them. And they received it and truly understand that I came forth from you and they believed that you sent me.” And this is full circle here.

God’s word is powerful. God’s word is important. It’s significant. It’s how we continue the mission that Jesus has called us on. Jesus came. He lived this mission. He proclaimed the words of his mission and he passed those words onto us, and we have that word today that we can continue to strive to live the glory of Christ and the glory of the father. Jesus has given us that word and that word becomes important to us, right?

If you want to have a powerful prayer life, you need to pray in line with the heart of God. And if you want to know the heart of God, you need to know the word of God because God communicates his heart and his word. Let me give you this last illustration. You can give me one more click, Celia. After today, I want you to go punch somebody. I’m just kidding. That’s not what I’m about to say. There is a fist and what could this mean? We’re going to get physical in just a minute.

This is an illustration. There’s a story of a father who said he used to play this game with his kids and he used to do it for fun. And he said every once in a while, he’d just grab a couple of pennies and he would put it in his hand and he would hold his hand out to his kids. And he would tell them, if you can pull my fingers open, you can have this penny or these pennies, whatever he had in his hand. And the rule was once they got a finger open, he couldn’t reclose it.

So they would pry and pry, and they would slowly one by one, get each finger open until they got all the fingers open and they would grab just one or a couple pennies that he have in his hand. And he just commented after it. He said it always struck him as so bizarre. He would open his hands and there would just be a couple of pennies. And the kids would just be so excited and they would grab the pennies and they would just run away. And that would be it. That would be the end of all that.

They’re just so focused on these pennies and they go to the room and they would count their pennies and collect their pennies and put their pennies away, but it was all about the pennies. He thought how ironic it was that the kids, all they cared about was just pennies. And he thought in his mind before he’d even play the game, ah, I’ll get a couple pennies. I’ll just throw these away. Who wants these pennies? And he’d think, “Oh, you know what? I’ll just clamp these in my fist and play a game with the kids.” And the kids would have some fun.

But then they would get so fixated on just these pennies and runaway. He said, “You know what? As I thought about that, I thought about my own relationship with God that I often come to God and all I really wants is the pennies. And here he is holding out his hand. There is so much more value in his hand than in those pennies. When I come to God, all I ask for God are just pennies. When I walk away, I’m so excited about pennies, but I realize that I’ve walked away from the hand of God. There’s so many greater things in the hand of God.”

I say all this to encourage us guys. When you think about the beauty of prayer and what it is and the intimacy with God, if we just stop seeking our own glory, how much we miss because we’re just going after the pennies. But if we pursue God for his glory, the blessing doesn’t just end with us. It blesses the world around us in a way that I think our minds, we don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about.

Not you, guys. You guys are great, but other people that pray, right? Other people that pray. But when we think about the blessing of what’s extended to us, because Jesus lived his life for the father’s glory, that continues in God’s people as we pursue the same. And it’s that heart that should drive us to think about what we’re praying about and why we’re praying. And the results we could see if we would just pray big because we belong to a big God. We want to reach out and grab his hand and stop going for pennies.

Full of Joy

Thou shalt not steal