Yes, the title of this humble reflection suggests big things. Admittedly, I wouldn’t dare to presume what Jesus would pray. Fortunately, however, we know what Jesus has prayed (most famously in the Lord’s Prayer), and we know that he prayed regularly. So in a way, this awfully presumptuous title is justified.
If I may, I’d like to mess with your mind for a little bit… After all, Philosoraptor says common sense is rare. So it won’t matter if we depart from it briefly.
This Sunday, we’re beginning a new mini-series on another of Jesus’ prayers which we find in John’s Gospel. The entirety of John chapter 17 is one big long prayer from Jesus to the Father on our behalf. It’s pretty spectacular (on first and fifty-first reading)!
So what would Jesus pray? Well, perhaps a better question to ask is, what does Jesus pray?
…the Church exists as a prayer from Jesus to the Father.
That’s some David-Bowie-esque (RIP) mind-messing right there. I can’t grasp myself how this is possible. But this isn’t just some far-fetched idea.
This is what Jesus prays for us in John 17:
“Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we one.” (John 17:11)
“I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given, for they are yours.” (John 17:9)
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.” (John 17:15)
“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” (John 17:17-19)
Jesus’ prayer actually forms the Church.
John Calvin says Jesus is our Mediator, our “perpetual intercessor”, praying to the Father on our behalf. It is this ongoing life and ministry of Jesus that is the only reason that Church exists.
Our four-week mini-series on Jesus’ prayer will, therefore, focus on the Church. In Jesus, we are one, we are made holy, we are sent out into the world. We’ll be trying to get our head around some of this and then praying for it and for the Church.
See you Sunday!