If you would, please turn with me in your Bibles to John chapter 17. John says:
Jesus spoke these things, looked up to heaven, and said:
the hour has come.
Glorify Your Son
so that the Son may glorify You,
2 for You gave Him authority
over all flesh;
so He may give eternal life
to all You have given Him.
3 This is eternal life:
that they may know You, the only true God,
and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.
4 I have glorified You on the earth
by completing the work You gave Me to do.
5 Now, Father, glorify Me in Your presence
with that glory I had with You
before the world existed.
6 I have revealed Your name
to the men You gave Me from the world.
They were Yours, You gave them to Me,
and they have kept Your word.
7 Now they know that all things
You have given to Me are from You,
8 because the words that You gave Me,
I have given them.
They have received them
and have known for certain
that I came from You.
They have believed that You sent Me.
9 I pray for them.
I am not praying for the world
but for those You have given Me,
because they are Yours.
10 Everything I have is Yours,
and everything You have is Mine,
and I have been glorified in them.
11 I am no longer in the world,
but they are in the world,
and I am coming to You.
protect them by Your name
that You have given Me,
so that they may be one as We are one.
12 While I was with them,
I was protecting them by Your name
that You have given Me.
I guarded them and not one of them is lost,
except the son of destruction,
so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.
13 Now I am coming to You,
and I speak these things in the world
so that they may have My joy completed in them.
14 I have given them Your word.
The world hated them
because they are not of the world,
as I am not of the world.
15 I am not praying
that You take them out of the world
but that You protect them from the evil one.
16 They are not of the world,
as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them by the truth;
Your word is truth.
18 As You sent Me into the world,
I also have sent them into the world.
19 I sanctify Myself for them,
so they also may be sanctified by the truth.
20 I pray not only for these,
but also for those who believe in Me
through their message.
21 May they all be one,
as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You.
May they also be one in Us,
so the world may believe You sent Me.
22 I have given them the glory You have given Me.
May they be one as We are one.
23 I am in them and You are in Me.
May they be made completely one,
so the world may know You have sent Me
and have loved them as You have loved Me.
I desire those You have given Me
to be with Me where I am.
Then they will see My glory,
which You have given Me
because You loved Me before the world’s foundation.
25 Righteous Father!
The world has not known You.
However, I have known You,
and these have known that You sent Me.
26 I made Your name known to them
and will make it known,
so the love You have loved Me with
may be in them and I may be in them.
This is the word of the Lord.
Father we thank you that even as we are temporarily forced to change some of what we do because of COVID-19, you are greater than COVID-19. Not one of us wouldn’t rather be inside that building, sitting in the pews, catching up with the folks who usually sit next us face-to-face instead of simply over the phone. And yet, You are greater than our inconvenience. We thank you for the way that you are with us even in the midst of our social distancing, that you are near us even in the midst of our isolation, and that even as we try to serve our neighbors by distancing ourselves to try and mitigate the spread of the virus, you have given us the profound blessing of being able to look closely at your word together, to learn from it, to be changed by it, and be edified through it.
We pray these things in Jesus’s name, Amen.
So, our passage this morning has three points that’s really about 3000 points.
Now that I have you in a panic, let me backtrack a bit. As you probably noticed when we were reading through the passage together a moment ago, the bulk of this chapter is a prayer that Jesus prays, first, for his disciples, gathered at the table with him, and secondly, for all of us, every believer throughout all of history, to the end of the age. He says, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.” That’s us. That’s you. Over the course of our passage today, we’re gonna look at a handful of things that Jesus himself is praying for you. /
But before we get to that, there’s a couple other things that John points us to first.
First things first, John’s first point, is that he reminds us that Christ has given us eternal life.
That’s a fairly basic point. That’s, kind of, Christianity 101.
For a lot of us, that’s the first thing we ever learn. I remember being on my grandparents farm when I was little and grandma, Mary Foster, would say John 3:16 to me and she’d bribe me to say it back to her. Anybody else’s grandma do that?
She’d say, “Listen close: ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, so that whosever believeth in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” And if I could say it back to her basically coherently she’d give me candy or a quarter or something she found laying around the house she didn’t need anymore – kids’ll go for just about anything if you tell ‘em it’s a toy. Right?
But that was one of the best things she could possibly have done for me, because it drilled it into my head from an early age that Christ has given us eternal life. And we see that in the opening few verses of our passage, Jesus says, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son so that the Son may glorify You, 2 for You gave Him authority over all flesh so that He may give eternal life to all You have given Him.”
Christ has given us eternal life.
But what, exactly is “eternal life”? We use that term a lot, but we rarely define it. But in our passage this morning, Jesus goes out of his way to define it. He says, in the next verse, “[And] This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.”
“Eternal life” is what we call it when we know the true God and we know his Son Jesus Christ.
That’s actually very interesting. Because that means that “eternal life” has every bit as much to do with what kind of life we have as it does with how long our lives last. You know what I’m talking about?
A lot of translations use the phrase “everlasting life,” here, and that’s not wrong, by any means, but it can cause us to miss the point by a few degrees. Because what John draws attention to, here, is the fact that “eternal life” is what we call it when you receive the glorious gift and privilege of knowing the God who created you.
You have eternal life because Jesus has introduced you to your Father.
You have eternal life because Jesus has given you refuge under your King.
You have eternal life because Christ has made you into God’s friend.
You have eternal life because you and God aren’t enemies anymore, you’ve been reconciled through the his blood on the cross so you are closer than family, closer than flesh and blood, you’ve been knit together with a love and a loyalty that will never be undone. That’s you. That’s eternal life. And it’s yours.
That’s John’s first point. Christ has given you eternal life.
But John is actually just getting started.
We tend to think of “eternal life” as the Finish Line. We wanna get people to say the “sinner’s prayer,” so we can get them across the Finish Line. Right? But the Bible actually seems to present that as the Starting Line.
Like, it’s true that Christ has given you an eternal life that you did not earn and you cannot lose, and you will never be without it again. That’s the truth about you no matter how you feel on any given day, no matter how far you fall or how hard you fail. But what next?
Surely that can’t be it, right?
That’s one of the strangest things about Christianity in the United States: How little people seem to think their faith has to do with anything else in their lives. We seem to think of salvation as a kind of rite of passage. We think of eternal life as, like, a factory line that we move through on a conveyer belt. People move along in a single file line, go into the little box and come out saved, and then that’s it. They go about the rest of their lives.
If you wanna know why people usually leave the church after they turn about 20, there’s a lot of reasons but one of those reasons is “Why wouldn’t they?”
In the version of the faith we’ve sold them, what’s the point of church? What’s the point of anything? What’s the point of praying? What’s the point of reading the Bible? What’s the point of ever gathering together on a certain day of the week to sing worship songs and study the scriptures together?
If all of this is only ever about turning people from Hellbound to Heavenbound then everything after conversion is basically extra credit and we all know that the only people who care about extra credit are nerds.
America has a nerd church.
I can say that, because I am the biggest nerd on planet earth. Which you already knew. Because look at me.
And if all of this sounds a little bit like a doomsday prediction, I apologize.
Because there is good news.
None of what I just described is biblical. It’s not even close. Don’t get me wrong. Hell is real, and you don’t wanna go there. Heaven is real, and you do wanna go there. Jesus talks more about hell than anybody else in the Bible. But when Jesus evangelizes, he’s not just inviting people to not go to hell, he’s inviting people to join his Kingdom.
He’s enlisting people into his army – it’s an army that wages peace instead of violence, but it’s still an army.
He’s adopting people into his family.
He’s inducting people into his circle of friends.
He’s taking people under his protective wing.
Listen very carefully: Salvation is the starting line. When Christ gives us eternal life, what it means, more than anything, is that our real life has finally begun.
And that leads us to our second point, and that is that because Christ has given us eternal life, now he prays for us.
That’s a strange thing to think about, but we see exactly that in verses 6 through 11. He says, “I have revealed Your name to the men You gave Me from the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me” . . . [he says], “I pray for them. I am not praying for the world but for those You have given Me, because they are Yours.” And in verse 20, “I pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message.”
Eternal life means that you know the God of the universe, and you know his Son Jesus Christ, and what happens when you know Jesus is that Jesus begins to pray for you.
And that makes sense, right?
Because, generally speaking, we pray for the people we know.
Every day, I have a long list of people that I pray for. I pray for everybody connected to Mount Zion Baptist Church that I know of. If you are in this parking lot you are probably one of the people that I pray for on a daily basis.
I also pray for nearly all of my friends over the course of a month, a couple a day.
And I pray for my wife – I made a list of all the scripture passages that directly deal with marriage and I converted them into prayers that I pray for Elyse each morning over the course of each month.
The list goes on.
If you pray, you probably pray for certain people, and one of the things that “eternal life” means is that you are one of those people on the prayer list of Jesus.
That’s really kitschy-sounding, I know. Sounds like something I got off a Hallmark card. But it’s true. When Christ gives you eternal life, he also adds you to his prayer list.
That’s how dear you are to him. That’s how deeply and unreservedly committed the God of the universe is to you. And in our passage this morning we see at least six ways that Jesus prays for us. Theoretically, this is gonna e our third point, but it’s basically six mini-points.
Here are six ways that Jesus is praying for you today:
First things first, beginning at verse 11, we see that Jesus is praying for your protection.
Jesus is praying for your protection. He says, “Holy Father, protect them by Your name that You have given Me.” He says, “While I was with them, I was protecting them by Your name that You have given Me. I guarded them and not one of them is lost, except the son of destruction, so that the Scripture may be fulfilled.” And verse 14, “I have given them Your word. The world hated them because they are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 15 I am not praying that You take them out of the world but that You protect them from the evil one.”
Jesus is praying for your protection.
That’s kind of strange to think about, but it’s true. The same Jesus who enlists you into his army, who engrafts you into his kingdom, also prays deeply for your protection to his Father in heaven who can make good on that prayer.
That means that every time you find yourself in a situation that scares you, your fear is only part of the equation. The danger that you feel is only part of the equations. No matter how scary or uncertain things feel the reality is that you re under the glorious protection of a God who covers you with his shield in one hand and prays earnestly for your protection with the other. That’s the truth about God, and it’s the truth about you.
That’s the first way that Jesus is praying for you. Jesus is praying for your protection.
We also see that he is praying for our joy.That’s the second thing. Jesus is praying for your joy. Looking at verse 13, he says, “Now I am coming to You, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have My joy completed in them.”
We’ve talked about this before, but Jesus wants you to be happy. That’s the truth. Don’t let the fact that Joel Osteen says stuff like this ruin it. This is also a running theme throughout the scriptures. God wants you to be joyful. The call to a Christian life is not a call to stop enjoying your life. It’s the opposite. God cares about your happiness. And so Jesus prays that his joy would be completed in you. He prays that you would have his joy.
That’s a strange sentence, but it means a lot.
And it’s extremely important to keep this in mind.
Why is it so important to keep that in mind?
Because it is equally true that when Christ calls us to come follow him, he calls us to leave everything behind, in a sense. Inevitably, we lose something.
Maybe we lose a relationship that we had invested a lot of our identity in. There’s more stories than I can count of people who realized they needed to break it off with the person they were dating after coming to know the Lord because their relationship was not godly and their significant other was not gonna follow them in living a godly life. So they had to leave that relationship behind.
One of my favorite authors is a guy named Wesley Hill. Wesley Hill is a man who is attracted to men. But when Wesley responded to Christ’s call to come and be reconciled to God through him, he rejected any kind of romantic or sexual relationship with other men and has lived a life of celibacy ever since. Because he knew that that was what Christ has called him to.
Think about that. Think about having to make that kind of sacrifice.
That is an incredible, and incredibly costly sacrifice – the kind of sacrifice that most of us will never have to make and wouldn’t have the gall to make even if we did. And yet that is exactly the kind of sacrifice we see people making to follow Jesus all throughout the gospels, because when Christ calls us to come follow him, he also calls us to leave our old ways behind.
Those are just two examples, and they’re both kind of extreme, but they’re important reminders that when Christ calls us, there are things we have to leave behind. There are sinful habits and attitudes and lifestyles that Christ calls us to abandon. We are all like the Rich Young Ruler, that Jesus tells to sell everything and come follow him.
And because of that, I think a lot of us get it into our head that the Christian life is about being desperately miserable for about ten decades and then dying so we can finally go to heaven to make up for it. But that’s just not true.
Because the truth is that even with everything we have to abandon as we follow Jesus, what we get instead is joy. If you talk to Wesley Hill or read one of his books, what he’ll tell you is that for everything that he abandoned when he answered the call to follow Jesus, what he got instead was joy. What we get is the joy of Christ.
We lose some of the things we think we want, but we gain the thing we actually need.
That’s why in Matthew 19, when Peter says, “Lord, we have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus responds by saying, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.”
Jesus brings joy. That is the second thing that Jesus is praying for, for you.
But there’s more! Because beginning at verse 16, we also see that Jesus is praying that the Lord would make you holy. That;s the third thing.vHe says, “They are not of the world, as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.” And verse 19, “I sanctify Myself for them, so they also may be sanctified by the truth.” Jesus is praying that the Lord would make you holy.
So, you have a problem. Actually, you and I have the same problem. Actually, you and I have the same problem that everybody else on planet earth has, and you could probably say that it’s our fundamental problem. The root of nearly all our other problems, and that is that we are not holy.
Right? At least, I’m certainly not.
Like, there’s something wrong with me. I basically know the right thing to do most of the time. But the right thing to do is usually very different that the thing I want to do. And if we are honest with ourselves, most of the time, the thing that drives us is not our moral compass, it’s our appetite. It’s our desires.
What I ought to do is help the folks a few apartments down from mine who can’t afford this month’s water bill. What I wanna do is use that money to buy a car with a working driver’s seat window. Ever seen the red Volkswagon? The driver side window doesn’t roll down, which is really annoying at drive-thrus. Right?
That’s a pretty mild example, but everything else in this sermon has been so extreme, I figured that’d be a nice change. But the point is clear enough. We are not holy. Our hearts aren’t right. You may be saved, you may be Heavenbound, you may know the One True God and his Son Jesus Christ, but that doesn’t automatically undo everything that’s wrong with you.
In bookworm-seminary-student language, we’d say “You are justified, but now you need to be sanctified.” You need the Lord to sanctify you. That’s what we call it when the Holy Spirit changes your heart – like we talked about a few weeks back – and replaces your old, Fallen, worldly, childish desires with new desires that glorify your Father in heaven.
It’s the word we use to describe the glorious reality that from the moment you put your faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins to the day somebody puts you in the ground, the Lord spends the rest of your life turning your sinfulness, your ugliness, your bitterness, your selfishness, and your rebelliousness into love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control.
Jesus is praying for that for you. That’s the third thing. Jesus is praying that the Lord would make you holy.
But even after all that, we’re still not quite done. Because moving forward to verse 18, we see that Jesus is praying that you would obediently continue his mission. He says, “As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.” And verse 25, “Righteous Father! The world has not known You. However, I have known You, and these have known that You sent Me. 26 I made Your name known to them and will make it known, so the love You have loved Me with may be in them and I may be in them.” Christ is praying that we would continue his mission where he left off. He is praying that we would make him known in the world. That’s the fourth thing that Jesus is praying for, here, that you would continue his mission in the world.
We talked about this a few weeks back, when Jesus told in chapter 14 that we have watched him do his works and that now we will do even greater works than he did. Jesus sends us on to continue his mission in the world.
That is why we do evangelism. That is why we approach people who do not know the Lord and try to introduce them to the Lord.
It’s why we put a significant amount of our own money toward financially supporting Christians in other countries as they try to evangelize their own countries.
It’s why every Spring and every Fall, I go and talk to the Jehovah’s Witnesses that set up shop in downtown Wake Forest. I made friends with a few of them and we talk through the differences in our beliefs every year. It’s why I flag down the Latter Day Saints missionaries who go throughout the neighborhoods in my area evangelizing and serving and talk to them about what we believe. Same thing. I made friends with a few of them and we talk through the differences in our beliefs every year. I try to convince them, they try to convince me, we’ll see where it goes.
It’s why, when there isn’t a pandemic happening, Mount Zion Baptist Church takes a few people out each month and literally knocks on doors and invites people to church and talks with them about what we believe. It’s because our one job is to continue the mission that Jesus began before his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven.
The same thing applies for things like service projects.
It’s why we do the Chicken Cookin’ each year. It’s why we financially support a number of orphanages. It’s why we adopt a few families to help them afford Christmas gifts for their children. It’s why we hold fundraisers for medical treatments, injuries, and all sorts of other things when we can. The list goes on. It’s because our one job is to obediently continue the mission that Christ began before his crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension into heaven. And Christ is praying for you, that you would throw yourself into doing exactly that.
And if that sounds exhausting, it’s because it is. Right? There’s no point denying it.
Sharing the gospel with people is exhausting. Most of the time we think of sharing the gospel as “preaching,” like, from a pulpit. But honestly, this is probably the least exhausting version of this. It is way easier to preach than it is to personally witness to people. I say that from experience.
It’s also way less effective. Ever looked at the numbers on how people tend to come to faith?
It’s eye-opening. The number one, obviously, is being raised diligently by people who actually faithfully practice the faith. That’s number one, by about a million miles.
What might surprise you is how low preaching is on the list. Good sermons certainly can convert people, but they usually don’t. I’m serious. And I say that as someone whose job security is contingent on your continuing to think that preaching is important. The reality is that Preaching and Programs are really, really low on the list of things that actually tend to draw people to the faith.
But you know what’s high on the list? Personal evangelism from a friend. That’s usually number two, just below raising someone in the faith from birth. So unless you raise someone, personally evangelizing to them is your best shot at bringing them into the faith. That is number two on the list. Personal evangelism.
Surprisingly enough, it is not the kind of hyper-confrontational shout at somebody in the street type of evangelism that statistically draws the most people into a lifelong faith and obedience, it’s the careful, persistent, winsome evangelism that comes from a person you trust and care about. Purely from a numbers standpoint, that is the thing that wins the world. Personal evangelism from a friend.
So this is gonna sound goofy, but bear with me: Have kids. Raise them in the faith. Make friends. Draw them into the faith. You want your church to grow? It’s not gonna come from good sermons. It’s gonna come from you. You want your community to see revival? It’s not gonna come from your pastor. It’s gonna come from you. And Christ is praying for you, that you would throw yourself into doing exactly that. And Christ is praying for you, that you would throw yourself into making that happen. That’s the fourth thing.
And, like I said, that probably sounds exhausting. But the very good news is that is that the very next thing that Jesus prays for, here, is your rest. Jesus is praying that you will be with him one day. That you will rest with him one day. That is the fifth thing that Jesus is praying for you. Jesus is praying for your rest. Looking at verse 24, he says, “Father, I desire those You have given Me to be with Me where I am. Then they will see My glory, which You have given Me because You loved Me before the world’s foundation.”
Existing in this world is exhausting. But one day you will be exhausted no more. One day, you will be at rest. One day, you will be with Jesus where he is. And you will be okay.
You will be truly and genuinely okay. More than okay. You will be at rest with a restfulness you didn’t even know existed, that you didn’t even know to wish for. You will be at peace with a peace you have never experienced in this life but your soul has been homesick for since the day you were born.
To quote the Log Lady from the show Twin Peaks, if anybody here is just, enough of a nerd to have watched Twin Peaks back in the day, “One day the sadness will end.”
Jesus is praying for that, for you. Christ is praying that you will rest with him in glory.
But there is one last thing that Jesus is praying for, and it’s easily the most intense. Hence the reason we saved it for last. And that is that Jesus is praying for your unity.
This one’s kind of a tough one, on a couple levels. Jesus is praying for our unity. As a church. As a people. As the body of Christ. We see that starting in the second half of verse 11. He prays, “that they may be one as We are one.” Jesus is praying that we would be one in the same way that he and his Father are one. That we would have unity the way that Jesus and the Father have unity.
We see the same thing beginning in verse 21. He says, “May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. 22 I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one. 23 I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.”
Jesus just made a few very specific claims. He says, “May they all be one, so that the world will know that you sent me.” We demonstrate to the world that Jesus really is the Son of God by our unity.
We glorify God by our ability to find unity even amidst differences in our personalities, or preferences, or, maybe the most difficult one of all these days, politics.
As a case-in-point, one of my pastor friends told me a story about one time when he was a youth pastor and the pastor he was working for nearly split the church because two separate members were running for the same position in a local election and the pastor decided to pick a side and actively campaign for her. That’s insane.
But that’s the really obvious side of all this. That’s the tip of the iceberg.
But what sunk the Titanic was the iceberg itself. And pretty much all churches everywhere are guilty of these things at some level.
Most churches have infighting and bickering. Most churches have members who’re holding such deep and bitter grudges against each other that they can’t spend any significant length of time in the same room as each other.
More than that, most churches have invisible lines drawn out that clearly separate who they will have unity with and who they won’t that have absolutely nothing to do with the Bible.
Since this is an election year, the best example I can think of is the way that American politics have absolutely taken over American church life in ways that are wildly unbiblical.
As a case in point, you might have the story about the church that put “Democrats Not welcome” on the church sign. What do you think of that?
Or you might have heard the story about the many who visited a church on vacation but was told to leave after someone saw his “Make America Great Again” bumper sticker. What do you think of that?
I use those two examples because they’re both guaranteed to touch a nerve.
We don’t always realize it in the moment, but when you take a step back and look closely, one of the things that you’ll realize is that American politics have absolutely taken over American church life in ways that are wildly unbiblical and almost always have the effect of dividing us to the point that we cannot accomplish anything meaningful for the kingdom. That’s a fact.
So we need to get this into our heads real fast: 90% of the time, if your politics are powerful enough to drive you to break fellowship with your brothers and sisters in Christ over it, then your politics are your God.
Right? I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.
And as tense and tightly wound as things have gotten over the last several months, we should take another step further and be explicit: If you are thinking about turning to violence depending on the results of the 2020 election, your politics are your actual God. Do not kid yourself, if you are willing to kill your fellow Americans because of your political beliefs, then your politics are what you actually worship.
Let me be even more explicit: If Donald Trump wins in 2020, and it angers you so much that you are willing to light a building on fire or attack a police officer or beat up a dude in a Make America Great Again hat, then your politics are your actual God. Don’t slap the name of Jesus on it.
If Joe Biden wins in 2020 and it angers you so much that you arm yourself and join a milita in an insurrection against the U.S. government, then your politics are your actual God. Do not slap the name of Jesus on it.
These are extreme examples, but the same principle applies in much less dire situations. If you will not be friends with a Christian who’s voting for the other guy, then the problem is you. The problem is your heart. The problem is what you worship, because what you worship is your politics.
So if you want, take this as a homework assignment. Make friends with a Christian who is voting differently than you. If you’re a Biden person, make friends with a Trump person. If you’re a Trump person, make friends with a Biden person. Make friends with a Christian who’s voting third party. Hang out with them. Talk politics with them. Try to understand them. Pick them up from the airport when they need a ride. Have a barbeque with them on the fourth of July. Let the unity that you have in Christ be stronger than the division that the devil tries to bait us into.
Let the Lamb of God unite you in a way that the Donkey and the Elephant cannot tear apart.
Let the Lion of Judah unite you in a way that the Donkey and the Elephant cannot tear apart.
Let your unity through Christ be a testament to the reality that gospel heals all wounds and bridges all divisions. /
That’s the sixth thing that Jesus is praying for you, and that is that you would have unity, so that the world will see that he is truly the one who was sent by God.
And so the only application that I have for you this morning is to pray these things with Jesus.
Pray these things alongside Jesus. Let your prayers echo the prayers of Jesus.
Join Jesus in praying for your protection. When you ask God to protect you, Jesus is praying with you.
Join Jesus in praying for joy. It’s not selfish to do that. Pray that the Lord would make you joyful.
Join Jesus in praying that the Lord would make you holy. Pray for holiness. Pray that God would make you want the things he wants, love the things he loves, and do the things he commands.
Pray that God would move you to join in the mission of Jesus. Jesus prays that you would continue his mission in the world. Join him in praying for that, and then open your eyes and see what he’s pointing you towards.
Pray that he would give you rest. Join Jesus in asking your Father in heaven to bring you home to rest one day. Ask the Lord to give you peace about the difficulties that you’re dealing with today in light of the rest that he will give you tomorrow.
And pray that God would give you unity with other Christians that nothing in the world can tear apart. Join Jesus in praying that the Lord would strengthen you to overcome the way that the world seeks to divide us. Pray for unity with your neighbors, unity with the people you go to church with, unity with the people that your flesh, the world, and the devil have taught you to think of as your enemies.
This is the point in the service where, typically, I would give something that we refer to as an “altar call,” but that’s not quite possible this morning, for obvious reasons. What we’re doing instead, is that as we respond to the Lord through song, we invite you to text or email me with your prayer requests, or decisions, or burdens, and we can set a time to sit down over the phone sometime the week and talk or pray through whatever is on your heart.