“I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” (John 17:20)
When we enter into a time of intercessory prayer, it’s not uncommon to bring our own priorities to the forefront of our minds. We bring to God the issues that concern us and challenge us on a regular basis. How will I pay these bills? Can I trust my teenager to drive? How can I maintain a happy marriage? But if we look at Jesus’ prayer on the night before he died, he wasn’t concerned with these things. Instead, his heart went out to his followers, to those who would come after them, to those who didn’t believe in him, and even to the state of the world in general.
Even here, on his final night, Jesus was teaching us to keep sight of the bigger picture: his promise to be with us always and our call to preach his gospel. His primary concern was that all people would come to know his Father’s love for them.
Jesus also prayed that our hearts would be filled with love for other people and a desire that everyone would come to the blessings of living in his kingdom. In other words, he prayed for our unity in him. He prayed that we would work to overcome all of our differences, pull down every dividing wall between us, and learn to live in harmony with each other. He prayed this because he knew that unity is the most powerful sign of his kingdom—a sign that brings even more people to believe.
These are all such noble, holy intentions. How could we ever live up to them, especially when the duties of life are clamoring for our immediate attention? Jesus promised that if we “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness,” “all these things” will be given to us as well (Matthew 6:33). If you want to see the bigger picture, spend time every morning in prayer. Fix your eyes on Jesus as he is enthroned in heaven, and he will give you a heavenly perspective on your life. He is praying for you today—just as he prayed for his apostles centuries ago!
“Lord, give me a fresh perspective so that I can stay focused on your will.”