“To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.” – John Calvin
Like you, I regularly pray for those I love, and like most parents, my prayers for my children are especially fervent. I pray for all sorts of major and minor life details for them, a reflection that they are always close to my heart. When they were younger we prayed faithfully each morning before school and each evening before bed. But, now that they are adults and out on their own, my four daughters rarely get a personal glimpse into my prayers.
In John 17:20-26 we believers get a rare firsthand look at Jesus’ prayers for us. He prays very specifically for “those who will believe” – that’s you and me! He opens His prayer by asking that we believers would be united as one, just as He and the Father are one. He then expresses His desire that we would be with Him and see His glory. Finally, He asks that we be filled with His love, the love of the Father!
These are three beautiful requests that our Savior prayed for me and for you. Hear them. Soak them in. Dwell in them. And think of Jesus even today sitting at the right hand of God the Father, continuing to pray on our behalf. In verse 23, Jesus tells us what will happen when this prayer is finally answered: the world will see and will know that He is the Messiah!
John Calvin said, “To make intercession for men is the most powerful and practical way in which we can express our love for them.” Certainly, Jesus expressed His love for us most powerfully when He died on the cross and rose again, but the fact that He also intercedes specifically for us and has allowed us a glimpse at those intimate private prayers is a beautiful gift of love.
One day last summer my whole family gathered for an evening meal around the picnic table, and I agreed to offer grace. As I began, the Spirit prompted me to pray deeper, as I would on my own in the wee hours of the morning. While the freshly grilled steak tempted our senses, I prayed for each of my children and their husbands (seven in all) in a specific way. I prayed about jobs, babies, homes, school, marriages, purpose, and more. When I finally said, “Amen,” I was greeted with tears of thanks, rather than sighs of relief. You see, praying WITH someone is often more powerful than praying FOR someone!
As you sit at Jesus’ feet today, know that He is thinking of you and praying for you. You are close to His heart. Join Him in His mission to bring unity to the church, to be where He is, and to love abundantly. And the next time you have a chance, pray aloud with someone. I guarantee you will both be blessed.
Dawn Moore is the mother of four daughters, three sons-in-law, and two beautiful granddaughters (one of whom is yet to be born). She is also the Editorial Coordinator at Christian History Institute and a Lay Editor of Christian History magazine.