John 17 gives us a record of the disciples hearing Jesus pray. Right after the Lord’s Supper and four or five hours away from being arrested, Jesus told the disciples that he wanted them to stay awake so that they could hear him pray. What Jesus prays, he models for us. The theme of the prayer Jesus prays in John 17 is glory. “That your son may glorify you.” (17:1) We can learn from Jesus’ example of prayer when we come before the Father:

1.) Jesus begins his prayer by addressing the Father. He knows who he is as the Son of God and his entire ministry has been one of obedience to the Father. When we pray, we come before our Heavenly Father. He is not some remote and distant God. He has invited us to the table as his children and when we pray, we come before him with the identity of his sons and daughters. This should give us much comfort and confidence when we begin to pray.

2.) Jesus prayed, “Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.” When we pray, we should pray to give God glory with our lives. When Moses came down off the mountain top from being with God, the people could not look at him because the glory of God was so strong on his face. When we spend time with God in prayer, we are inviting his presence into our lives. May we too reflect the glory of God that others would see it and be drawn to him.

3.) Jesus prayed, “I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do.” When we pray, we should pray to finish the work God has assigned to us. Let us be faithful to complete the work he has called us to do before we jump from one opportunity to the next. Find what you can be faithful in and obedient to that is right in front of you in the moment you are in.

4.) Pray with confidence knowing that Jesus is praying for you. In verses 6-19, Jesus focuses his prayer for his disciples. We too, are disciples of Jesus if we have given our lives to him and follow him. Hebrews 4:14-16 lets us know that Jesus is our Great High Priest, and as such, he stands before the Father on behalf of us. He is continually making intercession for us. In John 17, he prays for protection, joy, sanctification, love and unity for those who follow him.

5.) When we pray, we can pray for protection by the power of God. Jesus’ prayer shows his deepest longings for his followers. He prays, “Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” (17:11) We live in a fallen world where the enemy stages a continual onslaught against those who believe. Jesus said that the enemy has come to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10). But we do not need to be afraid of the attacks of the enemy. As children of God, we have the protection of God and no weapon formed against us shall prosper.

6.) Pray to be marked by the Word of God. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth: your word is truth.” (17:17) How will we know what the truth is unless we spend time reading the Word of God? We have the truth and it is no match against the schemes of the enemy. The only way the enemy can have a foothold is if we allow his lies to penetrate our thoughts and our mind. What shall we choose to believe? The lies of the enemy, or the truth of God’s Word? Pray that the Word of God will fall on your heart like the seeds that fell in good soil and produced good fruit.