rebelling against low expectations

He Prayed for Us: Finding Hope in The Words of Jesus


We all have days when we feel like life is kicking us down and the world is throwing one too many punches. As Rebelutionaries, we want to seriously pursue the spread of the gospel and see the expansion of God’s kingdom, which means the enemy has put a very large, red target on our backs. We daily wrestle against “the world forces of this darkness” and “spiritual forces of wickedness” (Ephesians 6:12).

As someone who grew up in a ministry family, I can tell you that opposition never goes away, and sometimes it gets even worse. But the difficulty we face is worth enduring for the sake of the kingdom of God.

There is a passage in scripture that has always helped me on those days when ministry is just hard, and that is John 17, otherwise known as the High Priestly Prayer. In this passage, Jesus prays for His disciples during the final hours before His arrest. But He doesn’t just pray for them, because in verse 20 Jesus says, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.”

Jesus prayed for all of us.

Time and again in scripture we see God knowing His people and planning their steps long before they were born and even before time began. Jesus prayed for us because He knew us. This passage gives a beautiful taste of the prayers Jesus offers as He mediates for us by the throne of the Father today.

The Glory of God

Jesus begins His prayer by saying this:

“Father, the hour has come; glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You, since You have given Him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I glorified You on earth, having accomplished the work that You gave Me to do. And now, Father, glorify Me in Your own presence with the glory that I had with You before the world existed,” (John 17:1-5, ESV).

What do all these mentions of glory mean?

The glory of God is His goodness presented, and glorifying God is His goodness praised. Jesus exhibited both on earth; He is the perfect revelation of God’s goodness. To look at Jesus is to look at the Father. And it is the action He is about to complete that shows God’s goodness in the most powerful way. He is about to die for the sin of each one of us.

We don’t normally associate death with goodness or glory. But here, it will become the greatest statement of love ever made.

Jesus not only prays that the Father be glorified, but that He Himself would be glorified. He says, “glorify Your Son that the Son may glorify You.”

Jesus desires to be glorified so He can glorify the Father. What is the greatest way He does this? He says, “You have given Him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom You have given Him.” Jesus glorifies the Father by securing eternal life for those who belong to Him. He is willing to go to the cross, conquering death to gain eternal life for His people.

They Are Mine

“I have manifested Your name to the people whom You gave Me out of the world. Yours they were, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they know that everything that You have given Me is from You. For I have given them the words that You gave Me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. All Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them,” (John 17:6-10, ESV).

Jesus has made known the name of the Father through the people that the Father gave Him. Why do they belong to Him? Because they have received and believed His words. Just like the disciples, each of us have received and believed in the words of Jesus, making us His through the love of the Father.

None of the disciples were perfect, they doubted, they struggled with some of His teachings, they ran at His arrest. Peter, who became the rock of the early church, sank in the water for lack of faith, cut off someone’s ear in fear and anger, and denied Jesus three times. Their faith was not perfect, but their faith was real.

We will mess up, but Jesus knew that. And He tells us that we belong to Him, and as long as we cling to the truth of His word, everything will be okay.

Keep Them Safe

“And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given Me, that they may be one, even as We are one. While I was with them, I kept them in Your name, which You have given Me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I am coming to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves,” (John 17:11-13, ESV).

Jesus’ mind is already in the future, He is leaving the world, and we are staying. But He isn’t leaving us defenseless. Just as He kept the disciples safe while He was among them, He prays for the Father to keep us safe while we are here in His absence.

This isn’t the physical safety that we may pray for ourselves and our loved ones on a regular basis, this is spiritual safety. Jesus is asking the Father to protect us from the spiritual attacks of the enemy, from temptation, anxiety, and depression. Satan wants to take us down. It is so comforting and empowering to know that Jesus Himself is praying that we be protected under His name.

Sanctified in Truth

“I have given them Your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that You take them out of the world, but that You keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate Myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth,” (John 17:14-19, ESV).

The disciples faced real danger, and we will face all kinds of danger too. Followers of Jesus are targets of a world who first hated Him and now hates us. The easy thing to do would be to give up on ministry, compromising our beliefs, or even leaving our faith all together.

Holding to the truth might be what causes our discomfort, tension, and even persecution in this world, but it is the truth that will cause us to stand firm. Jesus is consecrating, dedicating, Himself to the cause of us holding to the truth.

As You Love Me

“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word, that they may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. The glory that You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one even as We are one, I in them and You in Me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that You sent Me and loved them even as You loved Me,” (John 17:20-23, ESV).

Right here, near the end of the prayer, Jesus says something that should strike awe into everyone who hears it. Jesus is in us. We are in Him. The Son is in the Father. The Father is in the Son. Jesus is inviting us into the unity and intimacy that can only be experienced within the Trinity.

But we are not only invited into the Trinity’s unity, but we are also invited into the Trinity’s love. The Father loves us with the same love that He has for His Son. Us—His sinful, rebellious, imperfect creation—He loves with the same tenderness as He does His one and only, perfect Son.

Make My Name Known

“Father, I desire that they also, whom You have given Me, may be with Me where I am, to see My glory that You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, even though the world does not know You, I know You, and these know that You have sent Me. I made known to them Your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which You have loved Me may be in them, and I in them,” (John 17:24-26, ESV).

Jesus makes three very important statements here. He says that we are to make His name known to the world. He prays that we will one day join Him in glory. And He once more drives home the kind of love that the Father has for us.

These are the essence of the prayer and the core source of our motivation and our hope. Jesus left the world in the not so capable hands of the twelve, and they in turn left it in our not so capable hands. But He left us with His Spirit and His truth inside of us, and He left us with a mission to complete. Our mission is to make God’s glory, God’s name, God’s truth, and God’s love known to the whole world.

But it isn’t the mission that Jesus makes the final words of His prayer. It’s the love. Jesus’ final words to the Father on our behalf before He goes to the cross are words of love. We are engulfed in the community of the Trinity. We are welcomed into the love of the Father. This is what we need to remember on the days when the mission field is just too dangerous, when the cities are just too hostile, and the church is just too passive.

Are we prepared to see Jesus’s commission through to the end?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

About the author

Abbi Langille

is a young writer and editor here on the Reb from Nova Scotia, Canada. She enjoys writing both fiction and non-fiction, taking every spare moment to jot down an idea on her laptop or a handy scrap of paper. She has an addiction to story, whether that means getting lost in someone else’s or creating her own. She has a passion for shedding the light of hope in the darkest nights of those struggling with anxiety, depression, and grief. Abbi is currently studying at Kingswood University in order to acquire a Bachelor's degree in Theology, so that she can make theology available to young people through her writing.

1 comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →