When I think of Jesus praying for me, I think of John 17:9. “I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” In his high priestly prayer, Jesus prays that the love he shares with God the Father would also be in us and that we would be protected from the evil one. I love that his prayer is so straightforward and simple. Eternal life, joy, and unity are what Jesus is focused on. The holy presence of God is revealed through the sacrificial life and death of Jesus. “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 17:26).” Like the disciples, we receive a new way of loving and understanding through the prayers of Jesus.
This week at the Community Dinner I shared John 17. Before we had dinner, I read the passage and shared how Jesus prays that we would know that we are loved by God the Father. That the love Jesus has can also be in us. Jesus doesn’t pray that we would be nice, smart, or cool, just that the love of God would be in us and that we would be safe. Later in the evening, Mark, who attends the dinner regularly, approached me with tears in his eyes. He has Huntington’s disease and recently learned that there is a cure. He is going to quit drugs now that he knows he can live a long life. While Mark and I are talking, I keep trying to offer to pray with him. He tells me that he has always wanted to be a dad. He loves his nephews and wants to be the best uncle that he can be. He continues to cry tears of joy. Tears that come from the freedom found only in Christ. I stop trying to offer prayer, realizing that the prayers of Jesus are happening in real time, on earth as they are in heaven. “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 (John17:20-21). The prayers of Jesus change everything.