Beginning in John, chapter 13, we have the Lord Jesus alone with His disciples speaking to them prior to His arrest and crucifixion. From John 13 through John 16, the Lord says many things to His disciples, preparing them for life after He was gone. Having given His disciples all the instructions that He deemed necessary, in John 17, the Lord turns to His Father and begins to pray in the presence of the disciples. How wonderful it must have been to be in the Lord’s presence and hear this beautiful intercessory prayer. It shows the Lord’s love and desires for His disciples and for the redeemed ones that would be saved through their ministry.

In this ‘Lord’s Prayer’, He prays first for Himself in verses 1-5. He then prays for His disciples in verses 6-19 and again in verses 24-26. After that, He prays for all believers in verses 20-23. Finally, He prays for the world in verses 21 and 23. Time constraint does not allow us to read and consider all this prayer here, but I encourage you to study this precious prayer of our Lord.

In John 17:11 the Lord prays concerning His disciples, “And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.” In verse 4, the Lord had said, “…I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.” Here in verse 11, He says, “I am no more in the world…” The Lord was, in effect, saying, “Having finished the work you gave me to do, I am no longer to continue in the world.” Having completed His work among men, the Lord was just about to leave this world, but His disciples would remain behind. He points out in verse 12, that while He was in the world, He kept, or guarded, His disciples. Now, He asks His father to keep them.

That they may be one.” This is in reference to the way in which they should be kept. Those whom the Father keeps, he brings together in a holy unity of faith and of the Spirit. The Lord’s desire is that they be ‘one’ with each other, and ‘one’ with Him. This is a unity that man cannot create. This is the work of God.

Now let’s read John 17:20-21, “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: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” The Lord goes beyond the eleven disciples here and prays for all those who would come to Him through the word of the disciples. He is now praying for all believers everywhere. His desire is the same, “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, are in me, and I in thee.” The Lord desires that same ‘oneness’ for us today. When we walk in the truth of this ‘oneness’ the world will recognize that God, indeed, sent His Son.

Ephesians 4:3 says, “Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” While we cannot create this unity, we are instructed to seek to keep it in the bond of peace. The union which Christ prays for, is to be just like the oneness that exists Christ and His Father. How do we exhibit this ‘oneness’? Is it by all believers merely coming together, in spite of their vast differences, and declaring unity simply by being together? No, not at all. We show this unity, when we learn and obey God’s Word; when we walk in His truth. Before we can truly be ‘one’ with each other, we must be ‘one’ with the Lord, following Him and seeking to manifest His person and love to the world. The Lord tells us in 3 John 4, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.” (165.9)