Imagine how sweet it would be to hear Jesus pray. Our prayers feel imperfect and never adequate. Possessing knowledge infinitely more expansive than ours, Jesus knows precisely what to pray for. In John 17, the Holy Spirit takes us into Jesus’ prayer closet. With His death looming on the horizon, Jesus intercedes for Himself in verses 1–5, His disciples in verses 6–19, and all future believers in verses 20–26. These words of what has been called Jesus’ “High Priestly Prayer” have been a balm to weary souls for generations.
Shining brilliantly through Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is His intense care, concern, and love for his people. Once like sheep without a shepherd, we now have a joyfully interceding Shepherd who brings us before His Father in heaven.
In the final portion of this prayer, Jesus lifts to His Father all who will believe in His name—including you and me. In verse 21, Jesus begins to make specific requests for His sheep. The first request is one of unified fellowship, “that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me” (John 17:21). Second, Jesus prays for our eternal fellowship: “Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me” (John 17:24).
First, Jesus prays for our unified fellowship with one another. He’s praying for spiritual oneness and loving togetherness to be a defining characteristic of His church. The result is a blazing testimony of the gospel to the world, “so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” Jesus prays for our unified fellowship so that the world may see the gospel’s authenticity, be drawn to Christ, and believe.
Second, Jesus prays for our eternal fellowship with Him. Jesus states in verse 24, “Father, I desire.” His supreme delight and joy reside in bringing His people home to dwell with Him eternally, “that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am.” Jesus prays that all believers of every age would be welcomed into the holiness, sweetness, and joy of the triune fellowship and dwell there amid His unending glory. What a tremendous thought—Jesus wants to spend eternity with us.
Our all-joyful intercessor prays that we will not only enjoy unified fellowship here and now in this life but also relish eternal fellowship with Him in the age to come. We hear Jesus’ abiding care for His sheep within these two requests—requests that secure us here and now and in eternity. Do you fear? Jesus has prayed for you. Do you doubt? Jesus has prayed for you. Jesus prays for you with joyful delight because you are His own.