Jesus came to die for our sins providing our only hope for salvation. We must not overlook the fact that He also came to show us how to live in perfect dependence on the Father. Examination of the gospels reveals that prayer was a priority in His life. If our perfect Savior felt the necessity of prayer, how much more should we as sinful beings. "And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" Mark 1:35. He knew that prayer was a life line more important than sleep. His disciples sensed that fact. "And it came to pass, that, as he was praying in a certain place, when he ceased, one of his disciples said unto him, Lord, teach us to pray" Luke 11:1. What followed was the recital of the simple but inclusive "Lord's Prayer", a model for every one of us.
John recorded for us an intimate, personal prayer of Jesus which gives us a deeper picture of prayer's vital role and the love that flows between Father and Son to us. He begins with prayer concerning Himself because the fate of others was and is dependent on Him. "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee: As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him. And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do" John 17:1-4. We can praise His name that He finished that work making eternal life a possibility for all who come to know Him and the Father!
Next, Jesus prayed for His disciples. "I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world. . . I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them. . . I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth." verses 6, 8, 9, 15, and 17. I can imagine that the disciples were touched to know that Jesus was praying for them as they continued to grow in the truth.
But Jesus didn't stop there. "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us . . . Father, I will that they also . . . be with me where I am" verses 20, 21, 24. We were on Jesus heart even before we came into existence! What wondrous love is this!
Kathryn Irizarry is a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church.