Posted on May 09, 2018 by Pastor Dave Whetter
In our Gospel text for this coming Sunday (John 17:6-19), the seventh Sunday of Easter, Jesus prays for the disciples as he prepares for his own death. I am always amazed by this story, because at a time when anyone else would be praying for themselves because of what was about to happen to them, Jesus was busy praying for the people he loved and cared about.
Jesus helps to remind me of the power of prayer and the incredible comfort I receive as I enter into prayerful conversations with God each and every day of my life as I turn my worries and insecurities over to God. As followers of Jesus, we are called to be like Christ, and that means including prayer in our daily lives.
From Jesus’ perspective, though, prayer is not about offering up a wish list of things for ourselves; it is about thinking of and praying for the world that God loves. After all, that is how Jesus prayed, isn’t it? In his prayer this week, he prayed that God would continue to protect and strengthen his followers, not for his sake, but for the sake of those who would follow. Knowing how Jesus prayed and that he prayed for us offers me great comfort.
As you know, my sister, Doreen, died on April 27. She was an incredibly faithful follower who took Paul’s words to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) very seriously. In fact, the last several months of her life, there weren’t very many times I didn’t witness her in some kind of prayer, especially praying the rosary. And although I am sure she was praying for healing, I also know she spent a lot of time praying for others. In fact, at her funeral, I was in awe of the number of people who came up to me to share how Doreen always prayed for them and how she would follow up with them to see how they were doing. Doreen knew the power of prayer and was always willing to be in conversation with our Lord. Her prayerful witness and the witness of Jesus’ prayer this week offers all of us an incredible opportunity to enter into prayer more often and to remember to pray for others.
My prayer this week is that each of us might be willing to make time in our busy lives every day to enter into a time of prayer, not for our sake, but for the sake of the church and the world. Imagine what the world might be like if we pray just half as much as we tweet or write messages on Facebook. As St. Paul wrote in his first letter to the Thessalonians, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
Have a blessed week!