“I have revealed you to the ones you gave me from this world. They were always yours. You gave them to me, and they have kept your word. Now they know that everything I have is a gift from you, for I have passed on to them the message you gave me. They accepted it and know that I came from you, and they believe you sent me.
“My prayer is not for the world, but for those you have given me, because they belong to you. All who are mine belong to you, and you have given them to me, so they bring me glory. Now I am departing from the world; they are staying in this world, but I am coming to you. Holy Father, you have given me your name; now protect them by the power of your name so that they will be united just as we are. During my time here, I protected them by the power of the name you gave me. I guarded them so that not one was lost, except the one headed for destruction, as the Scriptures foretold.
“Now I am coming to you. I told them many things while I was with them in this world so they would be filled with my joy. I have given them your word. And the world hates them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from the evil one. They do not belong to this world any more than I do. Make them holy by your truth; teach them your word, which is truth. Just as you sent me into the world, I am sending them into the world. And I give myself as a holy sacrifice for them so they can be made holy by your truth.”
Along with unconditional love, keeping your children safe is every parent’s highest priority. We live in a dangerous world full of threats, fears and unpredictable outcomes. When a child is born, parents wrap them safely in warm, soft blankets. They clothe, feed and care for their child as if he or she were the most precious thing in the world, because to parents, their child is more precious than anything. But we know we can’t keep all the dangers and hurts away forever. Children grow up and experience the hard realities of life just like everyone else. People do mean things and say hurtful words. Dreams don’t always come true. Our bodies fail us, and our minds can’t always figure things out. Life in this broken world is hard, and so we cry out to God for protection and blessing over our children.
That’s also how Jesus prayed for his followers late that night in the upper room. This passage in John 17 is the longest recorded prayer of Jesus in the Bible. He asked the Father for many things on behalf of the disciples, including several pleas for God’s protective power to watch over them. Protect them. Guard them. Keep them safe. You can hear Jesus’ love for his friends in these words.
He loves you the same way, and right now Jesus is at God’s right hand praying this sort of prayer over your life (Romans 8:34). Jesus doesn’t ask God to take you out of the world, nor does He tell you to hide from all dangers. Instead, Jesus sends you into the world, asking God to watch over you and protect you from evil. You can know for certain, with all the assurance of faith, that God will answer Jesus’ prayer.
Thank You, Jesus, for praying for Your followers, including me. Cover me with Your protection as I seek to share Your love and message with others. I pray in Your mighty name. Amen.
Pastor Mike Mirakian