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Monday
June 24th, 2019

gary damronMY PERSPECTIVE, Gary Damron

 

A man we know grew up as an only child, raised by a single mother after his dad died very young. He remarked, “Sometimes I miss knowing that someone’s praying for me every morning like my mom always did.” Once in a while, our name might get added to a church prayer list – which usually means something bad is going on – but wouldn’t it be great to know that every day, someone somewhere was speaking our name in prayer. 

Shortly before his death on the cross, Jesus gathered his disciples and spoke his last thoughts. His High Priestly prayer in John chapter 17 mentioned his disciples – those who had literally followed him for three years – and ended with a section titled, “Jesus prays for all believers.” 

Every word in the chapter is power-packed, and as I worked through the verses, they reminded me of two other passages of scripture. A favorite of many, Paul wrote, “we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose…If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:28, 31). In the same passage, we find, “Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us” (Romans 8:34). 

For anything lined up against us, we have the assurance that the person seated at the right hand of the Father is pleading for each of us. Even more, Psalm 110 prophesied that that person would be a high priest unlike any other priest. You may remember that a priest has two functions: to take the petitions of his people to God, and to bring messages from God back to the people. Jesus who was resurrected from the dead is “one who has become a priest not on the basis of a regulation as to his ancestry but on the basis of the power of an indestructible life” (Hebrews 7:19). The sacrifice made on Calvary continues to be applied by our resurrected Lord. 

So, the prayer of Jesus occurred right before he knew he would be leaving his disciples. And he knew that we in the 21st century, those of us still in the world, would continue to need the prayer. “‘Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name’” (John 17:11). “‘My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one’” (John 17:15). 

There is a power for evil in the world, and the devil wants us to fail. So, Jesus didn’t pray that my feet wouldn’t hurt or that your surgery would go well, but that we would all be protected from evil, “‘so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them’” (John 17:13). He wants every believer set aside for a holy purpose – sanctified – by the truth of his Word (John 17:16). 

An essential characteristic of a body of believers is unity. No, not everyone in a church agrees on every issue. But through Jesus we are family, and we share the same Holy Spirit of Truth. “‘So that the love with which you loved me may be in them, and I in them’” (John 17:26). 

Even when our loved ones are gone, Jesus - who was present in creation, who lived on earth with his disciples, and who died and rose again – prays for us continually. 

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