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John 17 -- The High Priestly Prayer

Psalm 109:4
In return for my friendship they accuse me, but I am a man of prayer.

Peter writes that we are to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
1 Peter 2:21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. NIV

At the turn of the 20th Century, Charles Sheldon wrote a novel using this title, In His Steps. The republication of this work led to the popular "What Would Jesus Do" emphasis. While this novel catches the concept, Christ in His walk on earth actually applied His teachings in His own life. This is seen in His prayer life. Consider His prayer in the Garden just before His arrest.

Matthew 26:39, 42, 44 39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will." . . . 42 He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done." . . . 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing. NIV

Jesus tell us in the Lord's prayer to follow God's Will and to pray for God's Will to be accomplished. In this dark hour of Christ's life, knowing His arrest and death were imminent, Jesus prayed for God's Will to be accomplished.

From the perspective of our own prayer life, it is important to note that Jesus follows the basic pattern of the Lord's prayer in His own praying. John 17 records what is properly termed the High Priestly prayer of Christ. This is the Lord's heart felt petitions just before the final events of His life. Notice how well the pattern of Matthew 6, our Lord's Prayer, is followed in the High Priestly prayer.

John 17:1-26
1 Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said:

"Father, the hour has come.

Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, 2 as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. 4 I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. 5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me.
9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
13 But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. 18 As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth. 20 "I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. 24 "Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. 25 O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. 26 And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them."

Matthew 6:9-15
9 In this manner, therefore, pray:

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be Your name.






[10]Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven.





11 Give us this day our daily bread.

10 Your kingdom come.



12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.


13 And do not lead us into temptation,




But deliver us from the evil one.





For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.





The "fit" of the two prayers is not perfect, but as one reflects upon the prayer of John 17, the pattern of the Lord's Prayer is clearly present. This is the application of the Lord's Prayer we should be making in our own prayer life. This is the way Christ taught His disciples, and us, to pray.

Having said all of this, we need to consider one final set of suggestions. We still need to incorporate the pattern of prayer into our own lives. We need application!




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