What time is it?
I don’t mean looking-at-your-watch kind of time. I mean a time where you need to move, you need to respond, and you need to be aware of what is going on.
Have you ever asked yourself, “What time is it in our world? What time is it in the Church’s life? And more importantly, what time is it in my life?” Are you going to seize the day and realize that maybe God put you on the earth at this particular time to do something really, really significant?
When Jesus’ time to die came, He was aware of what was going on and knew how and when to respond. In John 17 we discover that the night He was to be arrested, Jesus took the time to prepare. And I am amazed and encouraged by what He does!
Jesus’s final preparation to fulfill His mission on Earth was not His words, and it was not instruction. It was prayer.
Jesus prays for Himself, then He prays for His disciples, and then He prays for future believers – that’s us!
If this is how Jesus responded and this is how He prayed, then we should also pray based on His model.
First, we should pray for ourselves – that we might know Christ and make Him known. We should also pray that we would finish the work that God has assigned to each one of us.
We should ask that God to open our minds, and open our eyes that we might really know Him and make Him known by how we live our life – from the way we interact with our family members to the way we talk and even drive our car.
There is something that each one of us is supposed to uniquely accomplish in the kingdom of God. Our background, our hurts, our difficulties, our pains, our personality, our spiritual gifts, and this time in history – all of it plays a role in the work we do for God’s kingdom.
Second, we need to pray for others.
I think Jesus gives us a good model. For His disciples, He prayed for protection and He prayed for sanctification. So we can also pray for others that God would protect them, give them joy within and protection from evil without. We can also pray that they discover exactly what He wants them to do and He will set them apart and make them holy.
Third, we should pray about the future.
More specifically, we should pray that God will give us a testimony with the outside world and He would give us a testimony with one another.
Our prayer should be that God would give each of us a bold testimony to testify with our life and our words, and that we would boldly and unashamedly say that, yes, I am a follower of Jesus Christ.
If we read the passage in John 17 and say, Oh, this is a nice teaching, but we don’t change how we pray, then we’ve totally missed the point. So often we get stuck in ruts in our prayer life. We only ask God for things we need ourselves … “Lord, help me with this and give me that…”
But I wonder what would happen if instead we prayed for God to show us what is our mission and for others to know Him and to discover exactly what he wants them to do. I’d encourage you to take the time to do this today.
For more information on this topic, check out Chip’s series, Jesus Unfiltered, Vol. 4: Testify.
Founder & Teaching Pastor, Living on the Edge
Chip Ingram is the CEO and teaching pastor of Living on the Edge, an international teaching and discipleship ministry. A pastor for over thirty years, Chip has a unique ability to communicate truth and challenge people to live out their faith. He is the author of many books, including The Real God, Culture Shock and The Real Heaven. Chip and his wife, Theresa, have four grown children and twelve grandchildren and live in California.More Articles by Chip