Did you know Jesus intercedes for you? Right now? Constantly.
Have you ever read a verse dozens of time, but miss it’s personal importance until something happens that changes your perspective? Then it feels like you’re reading the verse for the first time. You ask: How did I miss that verse?
I remember clearly the first time someone encouraged me with the truth “Jesus intercedes for me.” Having recently moved to San Diego, my family felt isolated and overwhelmed by the transition. Sharing a specific prayer request, I remember Dick Kaufman looked me in the eye and said, “Phil, you know that Jesus prays for you incessantly, right? He hasn’t stopped and he will keep praying.” A weight lifted and I felt a surge of strength pulsing through me. I felt immense gratitude to know Jesus knows me and sees what I’m going through and cares enough to pray.
Perhaps you need to be reminded of this today. Here are five things Jesus prays for you, as revealed in his prayer in John 17, with a short prayer of thanks in response.
#1: Jesus intercedes for our protection
While Jesus walked the earth, he protected the disciples from Satan and the world. Now he prays, “protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are” (John 17:11 NLT). Later he prays, “keep them safe from the evil one.”
Fundamentally Jesus prays for our faith to be protected. He knows he’s leaving us in a dangerous world, but he doesn’t ask for us to be removed. He wants us to model the love shared by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We all probably have stories we can share where we wonder why Jesus didn’t protect us from this or that harm. We live in a sinful, fallen world and we were never promised relief from the consequences of sin. Remember how Joseph, in Genesis 39, was thrown in prison for 13 years for something he didn’t do?
The truth is that Jesus’ prayers protect us from eternal harm. Our faith could have been undermined a thousand times over.
Prayer of thanks: Jesus, thank you for your prayers of protection. Protect me from the evil one and all his attempts to undermine my faith. Thank you for the gifts of faith and life. Amen.
#2: Jesus prays for our joy
Jesus taught us many things so we will be filled with his joy (John 17:13). Truth leads to joy. Jesus came to set captives free and can you imagine anyone more joyous than a recently released slave, especially one who didn’t know freedom was possible?!
Since truth leads to joy and thanksgiving, Jesus reminds us that he left us his word (vs. 14). He knows we need regular reminders of what he said because we have an enemy whose mission is to rob our joy and confuse our minds.
Prayer of thanks: Lord, I thank you for your word and all the things you teach me. May the truth and hope of the Gospel lead me to increasing measures of joy and thanks. Amen.
#3: Jesus intercedes for our holiness
In verse 17 Jesus prays, “Make them holy by your truth.” To ensure this happens, he promises us, “I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth” (verse 19). He knows he’s sending us into the world where we don’t belong. For us to be effective in our mission, we need to be holy, as God is holy.
Prayer of thanks: Lord, thank you that you didn’t ask me to do something that seems impossible without leaving the means. You asked me to be holy and you left your Word and Holy Spirit to help me change. Thank you!
#4: Jesus prays for our relationships
Do you ever experience friction, tension, or conflict in your relationships? Of course, you do, but that’s not God’s design. Jesus prays in verse 21, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.”
Larry Crabb, in his book Fully Alive, paints a picture of the Trinity dancing in perfect synchronization. They know exactly what each other will do, say, or think so they can anticipate how to move harmoniously.
Jesus prays for our relationships to become increasingly unified just as the Father, Son, and Spirit are one. So he’s praying against all the things that undermine unity: gossip, lying, slander, adultery, and divisions. He prays we learn to love because he loved us first.
Song of thanks: I always think of the beautiful chorus Make Us One from Brooklyn Tabernacle when I read John 17:
#5: Jesus intercedes for our witness
The reason Jesus left us here is to reflect his love to the world around us. So he prays, “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me” (vs. 23). In other words, may we experience unity so the world will know the life-giving message of God’s salvation.
Prayer of thanks: Thank you, Lord, that you poured out your love on me and that you never abandon me. You’ve given me your Holy Spirit and you constantly pray for me. I pray my relationships will be increasingly unified. May I die to selfishness, gossip, and all sins that undermine unity. Help me receive your love and show love to all those around me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Spend a few minutes reading Jesus’ prayer in John 17. Write down 3 prayers that Jesus prays for you. How does it make you more thankful to know Jesus prays this for you?