Meditation: When you pray what do you usually ask for - God's help,
blessing, guidance, and wisdom? One of the greatest privileges and responsibilities
we have been given by God is to pray not only for ourselves, but for others
as well. The Lord Jesus lived a life full of prayer, blessing, and gratitude.
He prayed for his disciples, especially when they were in great need or danger.
Mark tells us in his gospel account (see chapter 6:46-51) that when Jesus
was praying alone on the mountain he saw that his disciples were in great
distress due to a life-threatening storm that was beating against their boat.
Jesus immediately came to their rescue - walking on the waves of the rough
waters before he calmed them! Luke records in his gospel account the words
of Jesus to Simon Peter shortly before Jesus' arrest and Peter's denial of
the Lord three times. "Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that
he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you, Simon, that your
faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers"
(Luke 22:32). Jesus' prayers were personal, direct, and focused on the good
The longest recorded prayer of Jesus is found in the Gospel of John, the
"high priestly" prayer which Jesus prayed aloud at his last supper meal with
his disciples (John 17). This prayer most clearly reveals the heart of Jesus
- who and what he loved most - love for his Father and love for those who
believed in him. His prayer focused on the love and unity he desired for all
who would believe in him and follow him, not only in the present, but in
the future as well. Jesus' prayer concludes with a petition for the unity
among all Christians who profess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus prays for
all men and women who will come after him and follow him as his disciples.
In a special way Jesus prays here for each one of us that as members of his
body the church we would be one as he and his Father are one. The unity of
Jesus, the only begotten Son of God, with the eternal Father is a unity of
mutual love, service, and honor, and a oneness of mind, heart, and spirit.
The Lord Jesus calls each and every one of his followers into this unity of
mutual love, service, honor, and friendship with all who belong to Christ.
Jesus’ prayer on the eve of his sacrifice shows the great love and trust
he had for his beloved disciples. He knew they would abandon him in his hour
of trial, yet he entrusted to them the great task of spreading his name throughout
the world and to the end of the ages. The Lord Jesus entrust us today with
the same mission – to make him known and loved by all. Jesus died and rose
again that all might be one as he and the Father are one. Do you love and
accept all baptized Christians as your brothers and sisters in Christ?
The Lord Jesus included each one of us in his high priestly prayer at the
last supper. He continues his high priestly office this very day as our intercessor
at the right hand of the Father before the throne of heaven. Paul the Apostle
tells us that it is "Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised from the
dead, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us" (Romans
8:34; see also Hebrews 7: 25). Do you join in Jesus' high priestly prayer
that all who profess Jesus as Lord may grow in love and unity together as
brothers and sisters who have been redeemed through the precious blood shed
for us on the cross?
"Heaveny Father, have mercy on all your people and heal the divisions in the body of Christ. May all Christian people throughout the world attain the unity for which Jesus prayed on the eve of his sacrifice. Renew in us the power of the Spirit that we may be a sign of that unity and a means of its growth. Increase in us a fervent love for all our brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ."
This reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager, whose website is located at: http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/