Devotions

Jesus’ Prayer for Us

August 25, 2022
“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.” John 17:23 (NIV)
d8.25-22

In John 17, we find the last words Jesus shared at His final meal with His disciples.

Even though I treasure reading about the last moments of Jesus’ life with His friends, at the same time, my heart aches. He knew all that was about to happen to Him. Within hours of this last time together, He knew:

One of His disciples would betray Him …
The others would not stand with Him …
He would soon endure extreme brutality all alone …

And yet, somehow, He was focused enough to stay very present in this moment instead of living in dread of the horrific moments to come.

It astounds me how present and giving Jesus was during the Last Supper. Jesus and the disciples ate together. They drank together. They talked. He washed their feet. He watched Judas walk out the door.

Then He prayed. For Himself. For the disciples.

And then for you and for me.

The fact that Jesus thought of and prayed for us in these final hours also astounds me.

I need to read what He prayed. But even more importantly, I need to live what He prayed.

“… 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.” (John 17:23)

Unity. Love.

Of all the many things He could have prayed for us, it was unity and love.

This feels a bit complicated in our world that seems so very divided on issues where so many have loud opinions, express strong objections and feel very justified getting offended by almost anything.

I get it.

There’s a lot of wrong in this world that should be addressed. There are a lot of injustices that should be defended. And there’s a lot of evil that should be stopped.

But when I take time to reflect on Jesus’ words at the Last Supper, I wonder if there’s a more unified way we are supposed to be doing this. We have an enemy, but it’s not each other. In light of Jesus’ last prayer for His disciples (and, I believe, for us as well) before the cross, I wonder if we all need to remember that, while we can be divided in our opinions, we can be a little more united in our compassion for one another.

After all, so much of what shapes the opinions and objections we express comes from some deep pain we’ve been through or walked through with someone we love. Hurt shapes us for better or worse.

Jesus knew this. And He knew humans have such a propensity to turn hurting into hating. Maybe that’s why He prayed for unity. Maybe it’s not the kind of unity where we all agree about everything, but rather, in the middle of disagreements, we can remember we are all carriers of pain and sorrow. Even if we don’t see eye to eye, surely we can remember we are so very alike in what makes us cry.

Even if we are completely divided on some opinions and ideas, we can remember we’re so very united in our tears and in our love for Jesus. And in that shared commonality, we show the world that with Jesus, unity and peace are possible.

You see, where there is that kind of unity between us, the world looks a lot more beautiful around us. And the world will know by our unity and by our love that Jesus was sent by God to redeem the world.

The main thing is Jesus. And I guess everything else will be sorted out with crystal clarity in heaven.

Today, may we each choose to embrace a God-honoring unity and love in our lives. We honor Him most when we live His prayer.

Father God, You long for me to receive the love of Jesus and to live it out. For me to walk in unity and in love. Help me tear down the barriers of judgment and hatred. Help me hold to Your Truth and walk in Your grace while sincerely loving others. Help me use my healing as a way to connect with others, human to human, no matter where I may be on my journey. May my heart be softened and my life be changed by Your call to unity and love. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

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FOR DEEPER STUDY

John 17:26, “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.” (NIV)

Is there a relationship in your life where you know the enemy is trying to cause division?

How could you let Christ’s love for you help you see this person differently? How could a Christ-centered perspective help you love them like He has loved you? Share your thoughts in the comments.

© 2022 by Lysa TerKeurst. All rights reserved.


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