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John 17:1a

When Jesus and spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said…

In most bibles, this chapter of John’s gospel is called The High Priestly Prayer, and fittingly so. The Bible records many great prayers in both the Old and New Testaments. We are impressed with Solomon’s prayer (1 Kings 8), Abraham’s prayer (Genesis 18), and Moses’ prayer (Exodus 32). The Apostle Paul offered up many amazing prayers, as well, but this prayer is by far the greatest recorded in the Bible—not only for its content, but for its personal application. Yes, Jesus was praying over his disciples, but he was also praying for every single disciple that would follow in their footsteps, including you and me.

“Most of us know what it is to hear a true man or woman of God deep in prayer; there is something holy and awesome about it. Far beyond all that was this prayer Jesus prayed unto His God and Father, which is the only long, continuous prayer of Jesus recorded in the Gospels. The sentences are simple, but the ideas are deep, moving, and meaningful” (David Guzik).

You know it when you hear it. The prayers of true intercessors and mature Christians should be like music to your ears. They come from a place of deep understanding, gained through years of bible study, life experiences, and the tutelage of the Holy Spirit. They are always interlaced with scripture as people pray God’s very words back to him. They are reverent, yet deeply personal. Conversational, yet filled with awe and wonder. Have you heard the prayers of people like that? As beautiful and as powerful as they are, they pale in comparison to Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer.

Philip Melanchthon was a German theologian who worked alongside Martin Luther to develop the basis of Protestant theology in the 1500’s. He said of Jesus’ prayer that, “There is no voice which has ever been heard, either in heaven or in earth, more exalted, more holy, more fruitful, more sublime, than the prayer offered up by the Son to God Himself.” Not only did Jesus offer up this particular prayer some two thousand years ago…but our Savior continues to pray for each of us to this very day (Rom. 8:34). That is an amazing truth that I hope and pray will bless you and strengthen you as we unpack the amazing words spoken over the Disciples—and over us—all those years ago!

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