When we think about Jesus praying, we often recall the Lord’s Prayer. We recite the Lord’s Prayer as a model of how to pray. But of course, this is not the only prayer Jesus prayed, nor is it the only prayer he prayed for the benefit of his disciples. As Jesus neared the end of his time on earth, he prayed for those who had become his followers and students.

Holy Father,
Protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me.
I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost,
so that the scripture might be fulfilled.
But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world
so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves.
I have given them your word, and the world has hated them
because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one.
They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world.
Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.
As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.
And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth.
I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those
who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one.
As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us,
so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one.

John 17:11b-22

Jesus prayed these words for his disciples as he was preparing to depart from them. They did not yet know or understand, but their world was about to be turned upside down. Jesus’ arrest, death, resurrection, and post-resurrection appearances would transform not only his relationship with his disciples, but the relationship of humanity with God forever. Huge things were about to happen in the lives of Jesus’ followers. In anticipation of this time of transition, Jesus prayed for them – for protection, for joy, and for sanctification (being made holy). Then, Jesus extended this prayer to us, including “those who will believe through their word.” We are followers of Jesus because of the word of those who walked with Jesus in Galilee two thousand years ago. Like those first disciples, we too find ourselves facing a time of transition. We have experienced many challenges and even traumatic experiences during the past year. We are resuming many of our previous activities, but it is not quite “back to normal,” and we may not even be sure what “normal” is anymore. In these times of change and uncertainty, may we pray for one another as Jesus prayed for his followers – for protection, for joy, and for sanctification. May we remember that we do not belong to this world, and may we let go of that which is not ours to hold. When we feel that the world hates us or that the evil one is prevailing, may we remember we have been sent by Jesus who was sent by God. We have a purpose and a calling in this world. We have the joy of Christ, and are made holy by God’s truth.

Pastor Jennifer Rygg
May 11, 2021