I Pray That All Of Them May Be One – John 17:20-26
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“I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message,
that all of them may be one.”
Jesus [John 17:20]
How easy it is to pray for ourselves: that things will go well for us; that nothing evil happens to us; that we have good health; that we will not be unemployed.
It might also be easy to pray for the people we love: for Papa and Mama; for our partners; for our children; for a beloved friend.
But what is not so easy is to pray for those who are outside of our circle of intimates. For example: a far away relative whom we don’t like and to whom we never speak; a work associate who always criticizes what we do; or someone whom we’ve just met who make jokes about us.
And definitely we are not accustomed to praying for those people whom we don’t know. People who, perhaps, we have seen around, but in whom we have never had any interest.
But, as it says in Luke 6:32-33, "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even ‘sinners’ do that." (NIV)
Shortly before being arrested Jesus spent his last hours with his disciples, ending with a prayer: the Prayer of Unity.
Jesus Himself is the one who composed this prayer, and the subject of His prayer, in addition to His disciples, is all of those who believe in Him.
This prayer was made in a moment of great danger. The opposition was just about to capture Jesus and the shadow of death lay in wait for Him. One of the many things that we can learn from it is, instead of praying for Himself, He prays for all the other people: for His disciples, for believers in Him, for their descendants, including praying for you and me.
Without a doubt it is so easy it is to pray for ourselves and for our own good, especially when things are not turning out as we would like.
However, when we are in these adverse circumstances, do we think about how many other people are in the same situation? Do we remember the people who are in worse situations than ours? Do we take into account people who cannot handle situations that we ourselves have successfully managed? Or do we simply focus on our own business and may the others sort things out however they can?
My great-grandmother said there is no prayer more powerful than the one which someone else makes for us. It would be great if one day we could create a prayer chain which would go around the world. A Prayer Chain that didn’t care who we are, what differences we have, what we do, in what kind of life situations we find ourselves, or where in the world we live. A chain that would ultimately also come back around to us.
Today it would please me if we would pray, not for ourselves, nor for the people within our circle of intimates, but instead for those people we have just met and for those we simply don’t know. For the cashier in a shopping center, for the boy who puts your purchases into the shopping bag, for the waitress who serves your coffee, for the taxi driver who takes you to work, for the old woman you bumped into while crossing the street, for the girl who smiled at you on the other side of the street, for the woman who sells roses on the corner, for the shoe shine man, for all those people with whom you enter into contact today.
If we all do this, we would have the benefit that someone else could be praying for us. But, in the end, the most important result would be that we would be turning the words of Jesus into reality, complying with His desire. All of us would become one.
John 17:20-26 (NIV – New International Version)
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20"My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: 23I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25"Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them."
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