I have to admit that the last couple of days I haven't read the morning scripture. I have stopped at John 19. Not because I don't want to read anymore, because I hit a part in John that has me pondering for a couple days. I have read and re-read a part of John 19 a few times and recalled it many times to go over it. That is a couple posts away and I will go more in depth into what I read and why I have been reflecting on it so much. I can't believe that I'm over 2 weeks into this challenge and how it has shaped me. When I started I was reading and finding interesting things that reflected how I feel about present circumstances. While this still happens I actually find myself studying parts of the scripture. Today is about John 17, let's dive in.
John 17 is amazing in so many ways. First and foremost on my list is that this chapter is composed of prayer. This whole chapter is one big prayer from Jesus to God. Let me tell you right now that I don't know if I have ever prayed the way that Jesus prayed. My prayer life is pretty standard. Thanks for the day, please help in different things, amen. Those are my prayers in a nutshell. Throughout the day I will send short prayers that are maybe a sentence long of blessings, thanks or aid in situations as they arise. I find most often when I'm dealing with my kids it goes something like this "Please God, give me patience." I pray for patience a lot. What are your prayers like? Let's take the a few minutes to look at how my (maybe our?) prayers are different from Jesus'.
The first thing I noticed about Jesus' prayer is that his whole object is to bring glory to God. He wants God to be glorified through his actions. While I often thank God for the day and the many blessings he has given me, I rarely ask that my actions glorify Him. I don't often come full circle and bring everything back to God. I hope that my actions glorify God, but I don't often ask that what I'm about to do will bring glory to Him. For instance, this year (2016) has been financially very stressful and strained for us. First we fixed our van not once, but twice within a short period of time. After that, within the next couple of weeks (on the coldest day in January) our furnace stopped working so we had to replace it. That pretty used all the savings and more we had set aside to go to Cuba. Bummer! This summer our septic system backed up into our basement bedroom. We needed a whole new septic bed so we had to do that. Our bed is still set up in the guest room and I have a table, not a dresser to store my clothes on. All of this culminated in our signing of a Consumer Proposal. Basically baby bankruptcy. Yet when people ask me how I got through it all my answer was very simple. He knows the plans He's made for me, I just have to trust Him. Sometimes that isn't so easy. This week I'm not sure that we're going to have enough money to put gas in our cars so that we can go to work. I have begun incorporating more of Gods word into my prayers. My more recent ones go something like this:
God, I know you are good and I know you will take care of me. Just like you took care of your
people while they were in the desert and how you make sure that all the animals and plants
have what they need, you will make sure I have what I need too. This week, Lord, our funds are
super low. Please help us get through this Lord. A gas card would be great. In Jesus' name, Amen.
I have an assurance that God will provide for us, it's right in the bible. I just have to trust.
The second part of Jesus' prayer is for his disciples. He doesn't pray for the world because he knows that the world doesn't understand him. He also knows what's going to happen next and how much these people will need to rely on God. He prays for their unity together, with God. According to my Google search on unity here is the definition of unity - a state of being united or joined as a whole. To further that I looked up united - in harmony or agreed. Therefore unity means a stated of being in harmony. A state of working well together because you agree. Unity is important in the bible because God wants us to have a united front. If His people have a problem holding together of course they're going to be called hypocrites. We need to put ourselves aside, and let God be shown. Easier said that done. That's where the Holy Spirit comes in. Maybe you refer to it as a conscience? He directs you down the right path.
The concept of unity comes back again in the final section of Jesus' prayer. As he is prayer for all believers, that includes you and me, he prayers for unity. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one-- I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me (v. 22-23). It's not just a passing phase, it's a way of life. To live in unity with others. It's hard, I know. Trust me, I know. Perhaps the first step is to pick up the phone and apologize to someone. Maybe it's going to see that family member that really upset you or vice versa. After all, how are we supposed to show unity when we have conflict in our own lives? If you are convicted to give someone a call or go see them, do it. Put your pride aside and listen to the Holy Spirit. He is guiding you down the path where your actions will glorify God in so many ways.
You know the saying, the grass is always greener on the other side? This is my attempt to find greener grass right where I am in my life.
BTW - I'm the one on the right, just in case you didn't already know that.