John 17: Comfort and Encouragement in the Lord’s Prayer

I’m a preacher’s kid. Growing up in a large Christian family, I often heard my parents pray out loud. Their routine was to wake up early and have devotions where they prayed for a long list of people, including my siblings and me. In good times and troubled times, they prayed. In sickness and in health, they prayed. They planted seeds in their children to believe in prayer. However, I did not understand the value of my parents’ prayers until I was an adult. Then, I realized their faith and belief in Jesus Christ kept them praying on their knees.

Throughout the Gospels, we find Jesus praying to God the Father. John records His most extended recorded prayer. Picture the moment. Jesus knows His death is imminent. Before entering the Garden of Gethsemane, He makes petitions to God the Father for Himself, His disciples, and future believers. In His prayer, we hear the love of Jesus Christ and find comfort and encouragement.

Jesus Prayed for Himself (17:1–5)

Out of the twenty-six-verses, Jesus only takes five verses to pray for Himself. The central theme is glory. Jesus prays to the Father about His work. Jesus’s death loomed, but so did His resurrection and glory.  

And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed. (17:5, NLT)

Jesus Prayed for His Disciples (17:619)

Notice how long He spends praying for the needs of His disciples. Do you sense the humbleness of His prayer? Can you feel His love? Jesus makes these requests for His disciples:

  • He prayed for their protection and unity.
  • He prayed that they would experience His joy.
  • He prayed for their protection from Satan.
  • He prayed that they were sanctified and set apart.

Jesus Prayed for Future Believers (17:2026)

Jesus’s prayer extends beyond the disciples. He prayed for all who would believe in Him—including you and me. He prayed for us to be united in holiness for His glory.

I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them, and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. (17:22–23)

May the study of the Lord’s Prayer turn our thoughts to how much Jesus loves us. May His words challenge us to be set apart for His glory, be a witness for Him to the world, and model Him in our prayer life.