Prayer is important
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you 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. 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 – so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:20-23
Last Sunday was the last Sunday in the Easter festival. However, it was not only the final Sunday after Easter; it was also the Sunday immediately following Ascension Day.
In the above text, Jesus prays for his disciples and the church at large. One of the things he focused on is unity in the church. This is paramount because when we live and work together in the name of Jesus Christ, we present a clear witness of faith to the world around us.
Others catch a glimpse of the kingdom of God by the way we love and respect each other, and by how we’re able to confront and forgive each other, speaking the truth in love. As a result, they’re drawn closer to the throne of God’s grace, and the church prospers and grows.
Prayer is very important to us all. I once told someone I call a friend that I would pray for him. He said I must not waste my prayers on him. Maybe, he said, I should pray for others but not for him.
He does not believe in God and does not think that my prayer or any prayer would do him any good. Notwithstanding the way he feels and acts, I still pray for him. I do so constantly and hope that the Lord would work a miracle in his heart and bring him to faith.
Someone once said that prayer is begging and he does not beg, not even God. I agree, prayer is begging. We beg a gracious and merciful God to look upon us poor miserable sinners with mercy and compassion.
We should all pray constantly for God’s grace and mercy and intervention in our lives and the lives of our family, and friends. I am thankful that many prayers are offered up for me.
People I don’t know often write to tell me that they are offering up prayers for me. Thank God for those prayers.
We all need prayers constantly, to keep us firm in our faith. Our faith drives us to seek and promote unity in the church. When we have unity in the church, the world then yearns for it too. People are drawn to faith in God our Father.
We are to tell the world of the love of the Father which he displayed for the world in the son who gave up his life so that we can inherit the kingdom of God.
Jesus’ prayer is an all-encompassing prayer. We thank God that he did pray for us in order that we meet the challenges which the world presents for us.
This prayer kept the disciples on course, proclaiming a God the world did not know. To do this, they would need God’s grace and mercy. Jesus realized that their task would not be easy. Therefore, if they were to bring light to a world that had rebelled against the light, in his prayer, he gave them the courage, tenacity and strength to make God known to the world.
This prayer is also for us who follow in the train of those original disciples. We are thankful that he prayed for the church because his prayer guides us and gives us all that we need to carry on, especially in the face of adversity.
Through their obedience and faithfulness of the disciples and those who followed, we have learned to call upon the name of the Lord. We too are like beggars seeking God’s grace and mercy which comes to us through the sacraments, Holy Baptism and Holy Communion. Amen.
• Rev. Samuel M. Boodle, pastor at the Lutheran Church of Nassau,119 John F. Kennedy Drive, can be reached at P.O. Box N 4794, Nassau, Bahamas; telephone 426-9084; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org; or website www.Nassaulutheranchurch.org.