John 17:1-11 (NRSV)
Chapter 17After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, "Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, Verse 2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. Verse 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. Verse 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. Verse 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed.
Verse 6"I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Verse 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; Verse 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. Verse 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. Verse 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them.
Verse 11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.
I often hear people express heartfelt comfort in knowing that many people are praying for them, uncertain how they would get through the crisis without prayer. I hear their sense of peace, of being cared for and protected, no matter the outcome. Today we hear Jesus praying for his disciples, those claimed and named, and those that come to believe. He knows what lies ahead, the challenges and the trials and temptations that the disciples will face and so he asks for their protection. While Jesus is no longer in this world, this time of prayer through the work of the Holy Spirit, brings God and Jesus into their world and into ours as well. Our offerings of praise and thanksgiving, our hearing the promises of the Holy Spirit and knowing that Jesus is praying for us and desires for us to be in unity with him, gives us courage and strength to be witnesses in the world God loves so very much.
Gracious Lord, thank you for advocating for us to God as you did for the disciples. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, guide and strengthen us that we too may be one with you. In your name we pray. Amen.