Intentional Progress in 2022: Life Lessons From Jesus (Part 27) – The Prayer Jesus Prayed (Part 7)

by Rick

This morning we continue our journey into this year, focusing on making “Intentional Progress.”  I shared six steps to intentional progress with you, and I will continue to walk through them over the next few weeks.  As a reminder, here are the six steps.

Here are the steps again:

1.  Pray/Discern

2.  Plan/Prepare

3.  Wait/Discern God’s Timing

4.  Execute/Measure Progress

5.  Wait/Faith & Patience

6.  Receive When Harvest Time Comes

Over a week ago, I introduced you to what I consider to be the actual “Lord’s prayer.” It is a prayer Jesus prayed in John 17.  We are more than halfway through the prayer now, having covered the first 19 verses.  Today we will look at verses 20-23.  

Jesus prayed, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.  I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you.  And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.  I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one.  I am in them and you are in me.  May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”

So what does this mean for you today?  A few things.

1.  Jesus prayed for you, and He is interceding for you right now! 

In Jesus’ prayer to the Father, He said, “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message.”  

— I don’t know about you, but one of the most comforting feelings is knowing that someone is praying for you. When you know that person loves you, it means even more. I know my grandmother prayed for me while she was alive. I know my mother prays for me daily. I know my wife prays for me. You can probably say something similar. That’s a blessing. But did you know that Jesus prayed for you?  

— Jesus prayed for you while He was on the earth? He prayed for you in earnest. He prayed that you would be one with your brothers and sisters and one with Him.  

— Jesus loves you so much that He did not just pray for you then, but even now, when you make mistakes, Jesus is your advocate with the Father, pleading your case before Him (1 Jn 2:1). He continually intercedes on your behalf.  

— Jesus is in heaven, right now, pleading your case. He is your greatest advocate. This is truly an example of God’s undeserved grace. Having your brothers and sisters pray for you is great. When your Mom or Dad prays for you, it is even better. But when Jesus Himself takes the time to intercede on your behalf, it shows you how much God loves you.

2.  Unity with God is the key to becoming a conduit of His power in the earth.  

In Jesus’ prayer to the Father, He said, “I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.”  

Did you catch that? The world will believe that Jesus was sent from the Father and that He was truly the Messiah when you and I become one with each other and with the Father. When that happens (when you die to self to the point where your imperfections don’t keep you from pursuing God, and your idiosyncrasies don’t keep you from connecting with God’s children on the earth), the power of God will be released through you, the world will see it, and Jesus will be glorified.    

— When we are ONE with God and others, the world gets to see and experience the real Jesus.

— The world can’t see Jesus, but they can see us. Jesus wants to be seen on the earth. He prayed that He would be manifested in this world, through us, and He prayed that it would happen when we come together as ONE!

— The last few years have been very polarizing for many. It seems like people have been divided over politics and race in ways that we had not seen in decades. Jesus’ heart is crushed whenever we are divided. Satan loves division. God hates it. May we come together as ONE, as Jesus and the Father are ONE. When we do, the love and power of God are manifested in this world. That’s the goal!

3.  Unity with God leads to unity with men.  

John said, “If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?” (1 Jn 4:20).  

— Your love for God is proven and exemplified in your love for man.  

— If you cannot walk in love with man, then it is clear that you do not possess the love of God.  

— Think about all your faults, flaws, and failures, and then think about how much God loves you. He loves you by grace, not merit. He extends grace, mercy, and forgiveness towards you every day. In the same way, you are supposed to offer and extend the love and grace of God towards others.

— Please don’t tell me you love a God you cannot see when you can’t stand the people you see every day.

— Recipients of grace must become extenders of grace.

4.  Unity with God and man is the witness the world is looking for.  

In Jesus’ prayer to the Father, He said, “May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me.”  

— The world will know that Jesus is Lord when they can see, feel, and experience His love through us.

— If Baptists keep arguing with Catholics, and Catholics with Anglicans, and Anglicans with Pentecostals, and Pentecostals with Non-Denominationals, etc., then the world will think we are crazy. They will never come to Jesus because they won’t see Him in us.

— As Christians, we have too much in common to be uncommon with one another. Please stop majoring in the minors. I don’t care if you sprinkle for baptism, and I do full immersion. I don’t care if you baptize in the name of Jesus, and I do it in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I don’t care if you worship on Saturday, and I do so on Sunday. I don’t care if people at your church wear suits and at ours, they wear skinny jeans. None of this is important in God’s eyes. We don’t have to be uniform to be unified. Jesus died so we could all be ONE! And the world is waiting for us to do just that!

— Listen, the closer you get to God, the less you think of yourself and the less judgemental you become. If you run into a very judgemental Christian, you just met a baby Christian. There is no way I can look down on you when I realize how “jacked up” I am. If I really know God, I will know how flawed I am and how much grace God has to extend me every day. When I get to that point, I will be a lot more gracious towards others.

— When you die to self and allow the love of God to flow through you, you will begin to see people the way God sees them. At this point, you will love them despite their imperfections, just like God loves you despite yours. When this happens, you will see the power and love of God change lives through you!  The world needs more of this!

Declaration of Faith

Father, I thank You for Your love, grace, mercy, and continual forgiveness.  As I am learning from the life of Jesus, I am growing and becoming more and more appreciative of You and of what Jesus did for me.  I am thankful that my mother prayed for me.  I love it when my brothers and sisters pray for me.  But when I think about the fact that Jesus prayed for me, it is a humbling thought, and all I can say is thank you.  You want me to be ONE with my brothers and sisters and also ONE with You.  I declare that I will.  I walk in love with my God and with men.  I know men will not be perfect, but neither am I.  You look past my faults, flaws, and failures.  You love me despite my imperfections.  By grace, You give me the good I do not deserve, and by mercy, You hold back the bad I do deserve.  Since I am a recipient of grace and mercy, I declare that I shall be an extender of grace and mercy.  Your love has come TO me, and it now flows THROUGH me, for all the world to see.  I am ONE with You, I am ONE with others, and You are glorified in the unity we exhibit on this planet.  Living this way I know GREATER IS COMING FOR ME!  I declare this by faith.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

This is Today’s Word!  Apply it and Prosper.

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