When we consider what we may need for our spiritual needs, I think it is important to look at how we have been prayed for as followers of Jesus. Knowing how to pray for ourselves and others requires a framework that already exists in the scriptures. As we look to the bread of life that we find in the scriptures, please look at how Jesus and the Apostle Paul prayed for believers. Not just how they prayed but also what they asked God to do for us in their prayers. We’ll start with the prayer of Jesus.
On the night, Jesus was betrayed. He prayed for His disciples. A good portion of that prayer was focused on what they were about to experience and their ministry of sharing the Good News’s initial wave. That is an important prayer, but I also think it was a more specific group that Jesus was praying for in that prayer. What is fascinating is that Jesus goes on to pray for all of those who would come to faith in Him. Jesus actually prays for all who believe in Him. We find in John 17:
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that 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. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will 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. 26 I 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.”
John 17:20-26 (NIV)
Notice what Jesus is praying for…FOR US!
- Unity in Christ (vs. 21) – Not a unity that requires agreement about anything and everything. Unity in our identity in Christ.
- Unity in Witness (vss. 21-23) Our unity points to a belief in Christ that anyone can join. If I’m “in” certainly you can be “in” too.
- The clarity to see Christ where He is, as He is. (vs. 24)
- God’s love and Christ’s spirit to indwell us. (vs. 26)
Notice that Jesus doesn’t pray that we would have stuff. Food, clothes, homes, and possessions. He doesn’t even pray for our “daily bread.” Jesus is praying for our identity to be firmly set in Christ, that our witness to the world would be clear, that we would have unity of devotion to Him, that we would see Him as He is and allow His love and spirit to be IN us. Sure, we will need food, clothes, and other things but what we need first is HIM. Without Him, nothing else matters. Keep that in mind as you pray today for what you need most.