Reflection on the Lectionary Sunday 12th May (Easter 7)

Psalm 1; Acts 1: 15 – 17, 21 – 26; 1 John 5 : 9 – 13; John 17 : 6 – 19
This week’s reflection is provided by Local Preacher and Lay Pastor, Naomi Sharp.

How do you feel when someone offers to pray for you, or prays with you? It can be a powerful and affirming experience, especially when the person praying both understands you and is someone you particularly value, or whose faith you admire.
I wonder how the disciples felt on that evening of the Last Supper. I guess they didn’t know how precious Jesus’ time was, how little he had left among them but I’m sure they sensed something was up. Then the very last thing that Jesus does before he heads out to the place of his betrayal and arrest is he prays for his disciples, in their hearing. It must have been a powerful moment.

The prayer begins with affirmation of the relationship between Jesus the Son, and God the Father, into which the disciples are now drawn and belong. Jesus affirms how he has revealed the Father to the disciples, how they have believed, and how they are now both “mine” and “yours,” being accepted into the divine community of Son and Father. Jesus then goes on to pray that the disciples might be protected, (v.11 & 15), that they may be full of joy (v.13) and that they may be set apart, or sanctified (v.17-18). Just as Jesus has been set apart by the Father and sent into the world, so Jesus sets apart and sends the disciples.

Jesus prays this prayer over the disciples, not directly over succeeding generations of disciples like us, however other passages of scripture reveal that this prayer is not a one-off. Since Jesus’ ascension into heaven, one of his roles is to continue to pray for all believers, including us. Paul writes to the church in Rome that Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God interceding for us (Romans. 8.34), and the writer to the Hebrews describes at length how Jesus is a great High Priest who always lives to make intercession for people (7.25).

As you read this prayer that Jesus prayed over his disciples and reflect that Jesus is, even now, interceding for you, how does that make you feel? What might you want to say to Jesus? What might you want Jesus to say on your behalf to the Father? How might this impact your own praying, for yourself or others?

Lord Jesus Christ, I sometimes feel that my praying is inadequate.
Thank you that you are with me in my praying.
Jesus, you have sent me into the world, but I sometimes feel my service is inadequate;
thank you that you are with me in my serving.
Jesus, although my desire is to be faithful, I know I let you down.
Thank you that you that through your intercession I am forgiven and set free. Amen.