One of the most touching moments of the Gospels occurs when Jesus prays over His followers.
In John 17, Jesus pauses to recognize the struggles that His followers will face.
He speaks to His Father on their behalf — and on your behalf!
Read on to discover four specific ways that Jesus prayed for you.
John 17:20-16 is Jesus’ heartfelt and compassionate prayer for all Christians. In this prayer, He rejoices over all of His followers in the past, present, and future, and He brings them before His Father in order to intercede for them.
Jesus asks for four specific things for His followers throughout their journeys on earth.
1. Jesus prays that His followers will be united in His Name.
“I…ask…for those who will believe in me…that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they may also be in us” (John 17:20-21, ESV).
In these verses, Jesus asks His Father to unite His people on earth and in heaven, for His glory.
The church is our family in Christ, and we need to stay close to our brothers and sisters in order to glorify God and point unbelievers to Him. But sometimes it’s hard to do life with people who are different from us, even if they’re fellow Christians.
Isn’t it amazing to know that Jesus understood how hard it would be for His followers to unite, and that He prayed over us?
This knowledge should give us the strength to keep striving for unity and reconciliation in the church.
2. Jesus prays that His followers will effectively show His light to a lost world.
“…that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:23, ESV).
The purpose of our unity as Christians is to demonstrate God’s incredible love to the world. But our witness to the world isn’t to be a burden—it’s a gift from Jesus.
And more than that, we can have confidence as we share the Gospel with the people around us, knowing that Jesus has asked His Father to bless and protect our witness.
We can rest in His love, even as we share it with those in our lives who haven’t encountered it yet. It’s the Father’s will that we lead others to Him.
3. Jesus prays that His followers will see His glory.
“Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world” (John 17:24, ESV).
In this verse, Jesus asks His Father to grant His followers the privilege of seeing His glory and spending eternity with Him.
What an amazing guarantee of our eternal future!
This request shows us Jesus’ incredible generosity toward those of us who follow Him. He’s not content to save us and let us serve Him on earth—He longs to share eternity with us and show us His overwhelming glory.
We need to step back and remember how kind this prayer is, and how privileged we are to look forward to the experience of His glory.
4. Jesus prays that His followers will know His Father.
“O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:25-26, ESV).
As Christians, we not only have the privilege of knowing Christ. Through Him, we can also know the Father.
This prayer assures us that our relationship with the King of the universe is secure. Jesus prays that our relationship with Him and with His Father will continue to grow and deepen throughout our lives.
This prayer is deeply encouraging for those of us who follow Jesus. In these four requests, we see His deep compassion and abiding love.
And we can take comfort in the fact that He’s still interceding for us in these ways before the throne of His Father!