A Good Read!

In the Gospel of John, Chapter 17 (KJV) Jesus prayed an all – encompassing prayer!  As a matter-of-interest, you should read it aloud so you can hear the words being spoken. Of course, it won’t sound the same as when Jesus prayed, but there’s something impactful about hearing His words out loud.

First of all, Jesus prayed for Himself. He knew He would be going to the cross soon. Notice in verse 4 of Chapter 17 how He stated that he had finished the work which He came to earth to do. After all, Jesus existed before the world was created as indicated in verse 5 below.

These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:

“As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

 I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.

And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”

 

Not only did Jesus pray for himself, but in John 17: 12-17 (KJV), He prayed for His disciples that would be left behind to carry on his ministry.

“While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”

 

Jesus’ disciples suffered greatly. Many were put in prison. Beaten.  Killed. And Jesus knew that after His death that they would still have to suffer for the cause of Christ.

In addition what really captured my attention was that He also included me in this prayer. Let’s read John 17:20 (KJV), where He said:

 “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;”

 

Did you read that? Not only was He concerned for those whom He had walked and talked with, but He included me when He said those life-changing words: “but for them also which SHALL believe on me through their word.”  For me to read this for myself has been phenomenal! Over the years I’ve read Jesus’ prayer many times. Yet each time I read verse 20, I am encouraged. Christians today have to suffer for what they believe in. Personally, I’ve been called a Jesus freak, misunderstood, and worse.

In Profundities of Love I share with readers the process that I went through in order to become a Christian.  On my first date with Charles we somehow got on the subject of how we were baptized in a creek, not a baptismal pool inside church buildings as you see today. We both reminisced about how the deacons and trustees would go out to the creek with sticks and hoes to chop back the weeds and run away snakes, frogs, and other varmints near or in the water before they would bring out the pastor, candidates for baptism, others church members, family members, and friends.

We were so excited to be baptized and become Christians in our childhood days since we believed it meant we were definitely going to heaven and we would see Jesus.  In the Baptist denomination we observe baptism as one of the two ordinances which Jesus instituted. The Lord’s Supper or Communion is the other one. Baptism is the prescribed practice whereby a nonbeliever submits to full body immersion in water as an outward expression of his or her faith in Jesus Christ. Or as some may say, you get dunked.

My parents would not allow us kids to even consider being baptized until we were at least 12 years old.  They wanted us to be old enough to understand the seriousness of our commitment we were making so we would not have to be baptized again.

There would be revival meetings once or twice a year at our local church, Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church in Bell City, Missouri, a small town near Vanduser. During those revivals as we became of age our parents would have us sit on a mourner’s bench along with any other nonbelievers. A mourner’s bench was the front row pew in the church where those seeking to be saved would have to sit during revival. Everyone in church knew who the sinners were that wanted to be saved because of that front row seat. As kids, until we confessed and convinced the pastor, deacons, and parents why we wanted to be saved, we were not allowed to be baptized.

In was 1962 I turned 12 years old, and my parents allowed me to sit on the mourner’s bench at Morning Star. Midweek of the spring revival I got up from that mourner’s bench and confessed my intent.

“I want to be saved so that when I die I can go to heaven. I want Jesus to forgive me for all the bad things I’ve done. And I believe that He died on the cross for my sins and rose on the third day. I accept Jesus as my personal Savior and I want to be baptized.” I stumbled through the words while sobbing. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house after my confession. That was a very emotional night for me! My parents and Pastor Sims accepted my confession, and I was allowed to be baptized.

Inasmuch as Charles and I shared similar experiences with baptism, it was also important for me to know the man that I was dating grew up in a Christian home and believed in prayer.

Something to think about:

If Jesus prayed, what about us?  Though God knows our needs before we ask, He still wants to hear from us. What a great example we have in God’s Word to read how Jesus himself prayed and that He covered us in his prayer even before we were born and born-again.