The Prayer of the Lord Before Going to the Cross

Prayer is communication with God the Father. Because God is personal, all human beings can offer prayers. However, sinners who have not placed their trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, for God’s free gift of salvation remains separated from our heavenly Father, do not have a personal relationship with Him. God is love, and He has demonstrated His love in the gift of His Son. The Bible says that God desires that we love Him with all our being (Matthew 22:37).

Our heavenly Father desires that we express our love for Him in prayer. The Bible declares that “the effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (James 5:16). Prayer can meet one’s inner needs. One who prays may receive freedom from fear (Psalm 118:5–6), strength for the soul (Psalm 138:3), guidance and satisfaction (Isaiah 58:9–11), wisdom and understanding (Daniel 9:20–27), deliverance from harm (Joel 2:32), reward (Matthew 6:6), fullness of joy (John 16:23–24), peace (Philippians 4:6–8), and freedom from anxiety (1 Peter 5:7).

The Gospel of John states the uniqueness of the Son’s relationship with the Father. The Son existed before the world was with the Father; the Son was sent into the world by the Father; and now the Son prays to the Father as He goes to the cross and out of the world and back to the Father.

The Lord Jesus Prays for Himself

Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was” (John 17:1–5).

The Lord Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from you; and they have believed that You sent Me. I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept, and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. But now I come to You, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also may be sanctified by the truth” (John 17: 6–19).

The Lord Jesus Prays for All Believers

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one; I in them, and You in Me; they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name, and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them” (John 17:20–26).

It is God’s perfect will that we give thanks in all circumstances through our Lord Jesus Christ. “The Lord says, “In the world we will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have come the world” (John 16:33). The Bible says, we should always be “rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer” (Romans 12:12).

Prayer:

Our heavenly Father, help us to be joyful in hope, patient in affection, and faithful in prayer. Lord, fill us with your joy, peace, and hope as we trust in You by the power of the Holy Spirit (Romans 12:12, 15:13). Lord our God, You are our refuge and strength, and our help in trouble (Psalm 46:2). Lord, please keep us in your acceptable and perfect will now and forever. In Jesus’s name. Amen.

All Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version of the Bible.

By Constance A. Burns, NAAV Contributor for Moments of Mediation and Scriptural Readings; email: cburns@naavets.org