Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
One time many years ago my mother, in a time of discouragement, said, "Sometimes I feel like my prayers don't reach higher than the ceiling." I replied to her, "Mother, they really don't have to go any higher. God is with you right here in this room."
She knew that. I was just reminding her of something we all know as believers: Jesus is with us through His Holy Spirit. (John 16:7)
Still, probably each of us is subject to the feeling that, at times, God does not hear us when we pray. It is not my intention in this letter to open the subject of unanswered prayer. Rather, I would like to remind you, and myself, of just one of those instances recorded for us in God's Word where we can KNOW that a prayer for us was definitely answered.
The One offering the prayer is Jesus. The prayer is found in John 17.
"I am praying for them. I am not praying (requesting) for the world, but for those You have given Me, for they belong to You." v9 AMP.
Jesus is praying for believers. And why does He pray for them?
"For the [uttered] words that You gave Me I have given them; and they have received and accepted [them] and have come to know positively and in reality [to believe with absolute assurance] that I came forth from Your presence, and they have believed and are convinced that You did send me." v8 AMP
Of course, Jesus is the Son of God but He also gives the Father a reason to answer this prayer.
"I have manifested Your Name [I have revealed Your very Self. Your real Self] to the people whom You have given me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have obeyed and kept Your word." v6 AMP
(Incidentally, believers have "kept" God's word through acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord of their lives-not by keeping the Law.)
Jesus justifies His prayer further by saying, "All [things that are] Mine are Yours, and all [things that are] Yours belong to Me; and I am glorified in (through) them, [They have done Me honor; in them My glory is achieved.]" v10 AMP
So, what does Jesus pray for believers?
"I do not ask that You will take them out of the world, but that You will keep and protect them from the evil one." v15 AMP
"Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by Truth; Your Word is Truth." v17 Amp
"And so for their sake and on their behalf, I sanctify (dedicate, consecrate) Myself, that they also may be sanctified (dedicated, consecrated, made holy) in the Truth.
Okay, so maybe you're saying to yourself, "Jesus was praying for the guys who were around Him at that moment--the apostles and, maybe, the other followers--whom He was sending out into the world. (v18)
Well, if you are thinking anything like that, look at this:
"Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching." v20 AMP
That's me! And it's you, too, if you are a believer! We have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ indirectly through the believers who were around Him at that moment.
And what else does Jesus pray for "Us'ns"?
"That they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in US, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me." vv.21-23 AMP
And that's not all of it! Read John 17 for yourself-in the Amplified, if possible--but in whatever translation God uses to speak to you.
You can react to all of this by saying, "Yeah, but...". You can take what you've seen and heard and felt in your own experience and discount these words or say they don't apply in your case.
Or, you can read this chapter, meditate on these words, and ask God to speak to your heart through them.
We may feel we have unanswered prayers for ourselves and others but this was the intercession of Jesus Christ for you and me! God heard Jesus! And He answered! Take this prayer as for you personally-because it WAS and IS.
William Walker is the creator and webmaster of Everyday Christianity, which provides ministry and resources for Christian families. This article may be shared freely as long as it includes this resource box and a link back to the website at Everyday Christianity