Lent Devotional Day 38

Day 38
Friday, March 31

John 17:1-26

17 When Jesus finished saying these things, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, so that the Son can glorify you. 2 You gave him authority over everyone so that he could give eternal life to everyone you gave him. 3 This is eternal life: to know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you sent. 4 I have glorified you on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. 5 Now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I shared with you before the world was created.

6 “I have revealed your name to the people you gave me from this world. They were yours and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. 8 This is because I gave them the words that you gave me, and they received them. They truly understood that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me.

9 “I’m praying for them. I’m not praying for the world but for those you gave me, because they are yours. 10 Everything that is mine is yours and everything that is yours is mine; I have been glorified in them. 11 I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world, even as I’m coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them in your name, the name you gave me, that they will be one just as we are one. 12 When I was with them, I watched over them in your name, the name you gave to me, and I kept them safe. None of them were lost, except the one who was destined for destruction, so that scripture would be fulfilled. 13 Now I’m coming to you and I say these things while I’m in the world so that they can share completely in my joy. 14 I gave your word to them and the world hated them, because they don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. 15 I’m not asking that you take them out of this world but that you keep them safe from the evil one. 16 They don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. 17 Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 I made myself holy on their behalf so that they also would be made holy in the truth.

20 “I’m not praying only for them but also for those who believe in me because of their word. 21 I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. 22 I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one. 23 I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you gave me to be with me where I am. Then they can see my glory, which you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, even the world didn’t know you, but I’ve known you, and these believers know that you sent me. 26 I’ve made your name known to them and will continue to make it known so that your love for me will be in them, and I myself will be in them.”

My understanding of John 17 is that this text is actually the longest recorded prayer by Jesus in the Bible and is also referred to as the High Priestly Prayer and the Farewell Prayer. This prayer is divided into 3 parts: Jesus praying for himself, Jesus praying for His Disciples, and Jesus praying for all believers of all times including in the future (spoiler alert: this means us). 

Others see it as prayers of petition, both for the immediate moment and for the future disciples. Any way it is seen, it is incredibly powerful. One of the many things I take away from this is that it is always the right time to pray. Another thing I take away is the idea of a sweet farewell – recovery author Melody Beattie writes about the idea of sweet endings, of picturing the names of those involved in these endings rolled up in a scroll and dipped in honeycomb. Or, from a Christian perspective, sanctified by the blood of Jesus Christ. 

The longest prayer could also perhaps be viewed in modern times by a conversation – by the ways in which we talk to God, not necessarily once in the morning and once at night but in all the ways we pray. Often, I find I can be praying without even realizing it and it can sound like versions of – 

Jesus, which way do I go here?
Lord, I am scared.
Thank you.
Jesus, I don’t understand.
Jesus, let me be lost enough that you can find me.
Jesus, you always find me.

Jesus, let me always turn to you. Way Maker, Miracle Worker, Promise Keeper, Light in the Darkness. I pray that I may lean on Your understanding and not my own. Let my life be a prayer to You in the ways that I treat myself and others, in the ways that I walk in my own garden. Let my heart stay open to the world, Jesus, to be someone who can show up in nourishment. Let me choose softness over rightness, and truth over comfort. Thank you for praying over me so many years ago, for calling me forth and choosing me. I choose you, Jesus. And I love you. Amen.

By Lisa Silverman

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