As Jesus finishes the final conversation with His disciples … He turns His eyes to heaven and to the Father in prayer.  This prayer – which seems so intimate and personal that we feel we are eavesdropping – was meant to be heard.  It was meant to be heard by Jesus’ disciples at the time and by us this many generations removed from the moment.  I want to spend quiet, reflective time in this “high priestly prayer”.  Let’s move slowly … carefully … thoughtfully … as we read these verses.  And, let’s turn Jesus’ words and heart into our own.  There are three areas of focus in the prayer.  The first is Jesus’ prayer for Himself.  In the second, He moves to prayer for the disciples that were with Him at the time.  And in the third section … we are privileged to hear Jesus pray for His church … the coming believers.

Today, consider the first focus … read John 17: 1 – 5.

So many of the current translations of our Bible have these subheadings that divide the chapters.  They are designed to help organize the thoughts in the chapter … almost like outlining a paper.  And they are helpful … sometimes!  It intrigues me that the subtitle used by the NIV translators for these five verses is “Jesus prays for himself”.  Indeed, Jesus is praying for Himself … but did you catch the focus of this “self” prayer?  It is all about the glory of God!  Jesus does not pray for ease or comfort or freedom from  pain.  He was not naive about what He was facing … but His eyes were on the glory of God.  His longing was that God receive glory as Jesus finished His work.  This is by far the most “selfless” praying for self that I’ve ever read! 

What was that work?  In these few verses we get to see how Jesus viewed His work … it was to bring eternal life to those who would receive it.  We have already heard Jesus talk about bringing “abundant life” in John 10:10.   I am thankful that Jesus goes on to define eternal life … it is to know God and His Son.  The word translated “know” means so much more than factual knowledge.  It has to do with intimacy … with closeness … will full knowing.  It is similar to the “knowing” that exists between a husband and his wife.  Jesus wants that for you!  For me. 

Are there any lessons that you and I can claim for ourselves from the beginning of this prayer?  I wish I could hear what they say to your heart!  A couple that come to my mind … I want to be more aware of my own prayers for myself.  I want to be on the alert that they not become (or stay!) self-centered.  Listen to your own.  Do our personal prayers for ourselves only reflect our desire that our lives look like we want them to?  Do I spend any time thinking about how I can bring glory to God?  About my work glorifying Him? 

Also … how I want to KNOW Him!  Really know … not factual, but personal … not on the surface, but deep, intimate.  Eternal life is knowing the Father and the Son. 

Close your reflection today in prayer …

Lord, may I bring glory to Your Name.  The work that I must do today … may it glorify You.  The words that I will speak today … may they glorify You.  The interactions that I will have with people today … may they glorify You.  You are my life … my ‘all in all’ … glorify Your Name.  And Lord, I long to know You better … deeper … more fully.  Open my eyes that I may see You in the circumstances, the people, the events that surround me.  Open my ears that I may hear Your voice in the world and in Your Word.  Eternal life is all about You.  I bow before You again … today …