Day 17 // A Parent's Prayer

Read: John 16:17-17:26


I always wanted three children. Growing up my family had three children and in my mind, that was the “right” number. I had one child, a miscarriage, and then another child two and half years later. My husband was an only child, so he thought we had a full house, but he was willing to try for three.

We tried and tried and headed to the doctor for help. After some initial testing, the more invasive stuff was next. I decided not to continue the process. My husband was not totally sold on more children, I wasn’t up for painful procedures, and I felt that nudge to let go.  

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t believe there was a right and wrong choice at that moment. It was just the choice that I thought was right for us. And I still wanted a baby. I prayed and prayed for another baby.

What my Father said at this point, I have never forgotten. He was encouraging me to stop worrying about having a third child, “It is going to take every ounce of energy you have to raise the two you have.”

Truer words have not been spoken. Raising children has been one of the hardest things I have ever done. I love them dearly, but as my Dad said, it has taken every ounce of energy I have. From breastfeeding all the way to learning to let go of an eighteen-year-old, the whole thing has been a blessing and a challenge.

I think Jesus understands parenting. In the book of John, we see Jesus raising up the disciples, and He has been parenting God’s children ever since. In John 17, Jesus is about to leave His disciples out in the world. He knew they would face immense pressure living out in the world. Jesus chose prayer to fortify His children and the children that would come from them.

Jesus begins His prayer by praying for the mission God has called Him to. He prays that God would glorify Himself through the trial He is about to experience. Jesus explains in this prayer that the purpose of His mission is to give eternal life. He defines eternal life, not as the length of life but the quality. John 17:3 says, “Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

Next Jesus chooses to pray for the disciples:

Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name - the name you gave me - so that they may be one as we are one.
— John 17:11
My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth: your Word is truth.
— John 17:15-17

Then Jesus prays for us. He prays for those who will believe in Him because of the disciples’ message.

I have given them the glory that you gave Me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.
— John 17:22-23

Jesus prays for protection, oneness, and sanctification.

Protection from the evil one is necessary because as Jesus says in John 10:10 “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Scripture tells us that the devil is roaming around looking for someone to devour. (1 Peter 5:8)

Oneness with God and each other is critical for the body of Christ to function as a body. As each one of us does our part, we will bear fruit and show the world that God loves them.

The sanctification process is us being set apart for God’s work. We are changed through the living Word, Jesus Christ, and the written Word, the Scriptures. Through the Word, we become healthy and strong and ready to face challenges. Jesus said, “Sanctify them by the truth. Your Word is truth.”

If Jesus prays oneness, protection, and sanctification for those He loves, I should worry less and pray more. Jesus did not pray to remove His children from this world or every difficulty, but He prayed that they would be protected from the evil one and strengthened through the Word of God and the body of Christ. As those prayers are answered, God is glorified, and His love is shown to a dark and hurting world.


NEXT STEPS:

In your Going Deeper Participant Guide, let’s look at Day 17 beginning on page 37. Complete Look at the Details and Personal Application sections. Then come back here and share your answer to the following discussion question in the comment section below. (You can find the comment section at the bottom of this message. Just scroll down and you’ll see the words “Post a Comment.” Click there and share your responses.) Or, join the conversation on our Facebook Community Group.

"How should John 17 impact how you pray in the future?"

I will be posting my responses in the comment section and on Facebook too, so I hope to see you there!

Thanks for going on this journey together! #undividedwomen