140601 John 17:6-11

Last Updated on Monday, 02 June 2014 Written by Pastor Schmidt

Sermon Text: John 17:6-11a

Theme: Join the Ascended Lord in Prayer for Your Fellow Believers

Communication. Communication is important in many different areas in our world today. Today's technology has helped to improve our communication with one another. When talking with a couple who is married or about to be married, we talk about the important role positive communication plays in a strong marriage. For a business to run successfully there needs to be good communication between management and the workers. In the classroom, it is necessary that there is clear communication between the students and their teacher. Communication is also important to you and me as children of our Father in heaven. You and I have the privilege of being able to talk to our Almighty God through prayer. We are able to share with him our hopes, our fears, and our joys. Before his suffering and death, before his triumphant resurrection from the dead, before his glorious ascension into heaven, the Savior spent time in prayer. Part of Jesus' "High Priestly Prayer" in the Garden of Gethsemane on Maundy Thursday was for his disciples. He knew that he would not be with them much longer, and so God's Son prayed to his Father in heaven on their behalf. This morning, as we look at that part of our Savior "High Priestly Prayer", you and I hear the encouragement to join the ascended Lord in prayer for your fellow believers.

The first thing Jesus prays for is that his Father in heaven would keep the disciples faithful to the Word of God. Jesus prayed, "You gave them to me and they obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me." Unlike most of the religious leaders of the day, the disciples believed the teachings of Jesus. By the power of God's Word working on their hearts, they trusted that Jesus is the Son of God sent to this earth to win the forgiveness of all sins. The Savior knew that his disciples would face many challenges and persecution. After Jesus was no longer visibly with them on earth, they would be tempted to turn away from him. So the Savior prays that God the Father would keep them faithful to his Word.

Not only did our Savior pray that the Father would help his disciples remain faithful to his Word, but he also prays that the Father would use his almighty power to continue to protect them. Jesus prays these words, "I will remain in the world no longer, but they are still in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name–the name you gave me—so that they may be one as we are one." Jesus knows that he will be with his disciples only a little while longer. So, he asks the Father to protect them – to protect them from those who might want to harm them physically; to protect them so that they do not lose the God-given faith they have; to protect them so that they might reflect in their lives, the unity that exists between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

We often find it easy to pray for ourselves. But how many times do you say a prayer for your fellow believers? How often do you pray for your Pastors or Teachers here at St. Matthew's? How often do you pray for the person or the family sitting in the pew next to you? How many times do you say a prayer for all the members of St. Matthew's, or for all your fellow believers in the WELS? How many times do you say a prayer for your fellow believers not only in this country but around the world as well? What can you include in your prayers for your fellow believers? Pray that they would remain faithful to all of God's Word. There are many different things in this sinful world pulling at our fellow believers to walk away from the Word of God and their relationship with him. Daily you and I need to ask that our God would protect us and our fellow believers from those who would lead us astray, and to give us the strength to remain faithful to His Word. Pray daily that there continues to be strong unity among us who call ourselves members of St. Matthew's and members of our Wisconsin Synod.

At this point, I would like to share a story with you about a prayer I said for a fellow believer: During my sophomore year in college my Grandpa became very sick. I went to the hospital in Appleton, Wisconsin to visit him. As I looked at him, I noticed the pain in his face. This was on a Monday. Tuesday morning I went to morning classes as usual, yet I could stop thinking about my Grandpa and the pain he was in. At 9:40 A.M. I went to chapel, just as I did every morning. Only this time my prayer was different. This time I asked the Lord to end my Grandpa's time of suffering. I remember praying: "Lord, if it is your will that Grandpa remain here for awhile, please grant healing to him quickly. Or, if it is your will, end his time of suffering and bring him to yourself in heaven." It was 9:40 when I said this prayer. At 1:30 that afternoon my Dad called me. He told me that Grandpa had gone home to be with Jesus. When I asked what time he died, my Dad told me 9:42 A.M. Only two minutes after I had offered my prayer, God answered my prayer by taking Grandpa home to heaven.

I know that my Grandpa's soul may have already been with Jesus at the time I said my prayer. But, does our God hear our prayers? You bet He does! Does God answer each and every one of your prayers and mine? Our loving Father in heaven may not always answer our prayers with the answer we want to hear. There are times when his answer is "Yes." There are times when his answer is "No." There are times when his answer is: "Wait." There are times when his answer is, "I have something even better in mind for you." As children of God, Jesus our Savior has won a wonderful privilege for you and me: the privilege to talk one on one with our gracious Father in heaven. This morning I encourage you to take time out of your day and pray. Pray not only for yourselves, but for your fellow believers as well. Amen.

 

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Compelled by the love of Christ, St. Matthew’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and School seek to reach out to our families, community and world, using Law and Gospel to make disciples, growing and nurturing them in their Christian faith and life.

 

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818 West Wisconsin Avenue
Oconomowoc, WI 53066
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