Praying for the World

As we are being challenged to read and study the book of John, I wanted to share some of my personal sermon notes with you to help you understand the book. I preached through the entire book over the course of 1 year when I pastored First Baptist Church Del Rio. Enjoy!

Introduction—The world is a huge place. 148,940,000 square miles of land to be exact, and over 7 billion people that are living today. That can seem overwhelming if you took up a challenge to pray for the world. Your prayer would have to be a generic prayer with maybe a few knowledgeable tidbits of information, like, praying for safety for our soldiers, praying for peace in the Middle East, and things of that nature. But if we, the body of Christ, are committed to praying for the world, we start by praying for those in our circle of influence, since they are part of the 7 plus billion people on the planet. 

There is an old saying that goes like this: How do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time. It isn’t possible to pray for the world, but it is possible to pray for some of the world.

Jesus could pray for the world, because He was God in the flesh. Jesus is about to go through the toughest part of His ministry and so He turns to His father and asks Him to strengthen the disciples because the world will come to know Christ through them. 

Read-John 17:1-26

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal lifeto all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you,the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have 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. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 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. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

Jesus Prays for All Believers

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

  1. Jesus prays for everyone to Know God, verses 1-5

After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed:

“Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began.

  1. Verse 1—Jesus’ hour has come. He knows what lies ahead, but instead of a prayer of self-concern, He prays for God to be glorified through the crucifixion of His Son. Wow what a prayer.  
  2. Verse 2—Even though Jesus is praying about Himself, He prays with awe to His Father. He prays with anticipation about what God will do through Jesus’ death. 
  3. Verse 3—Jesus gives the definition for Eternal Life—to know God and His Son Jesus. That is it. Webster’s dictionary defines the word eternal as continued without intermission, having infinite duration, characterized by abiding fellowship with God
  4. Verse 4—God receives glory when the task is completed. When you come to Christ by faith that completes a task.
  5. Verse 5—Jesus is excited to know He will be back in the presence of His Father. 

Application—Do you pray for others to come to know God? How about praying for an opportunity to share your story about how Jesus changed your life?

  • Jesus Prays for All Believers Jesus prays for His followers, verses 6-19

Jesus Prays for His Disciples

“I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have 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. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All I have is yours, and all you have is mine. And glory has come to me through them. 11 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. 12 While I was with them, I protected them and kept them safe by that name you gave me. None has been lost except the one doomed to destruction so that Scripture would be fulfilled.

13 “I am coming to you now, but I say these things while I am still in the world, so that they may have the full measure of my joy within them. 14 I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world. 15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17 Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. 19 For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.

  1. Verse 6—Jesus prays to God about how He has been obedient to His calling. Can you pray that prayer to God? Have you been obedient to God?
  2. Verse 7-8—Jesus knows that anyone who follows Him must accept that He came from God and that everything He taught came straight from God. 
  3. Verse 9—Jesus is so faithful to pray for those God has entrusted to Him. 
  4. Verse 10—Everything belongs to God
  5. Verse 11-12—Jesus prays for God to protect His followers by covering them in prayer in His name. Wow, the Lord of the universe is praying a prayer covering over His disciples. I would say they were good to go! 
  6. Verse 13—Jesus wants His followers to enjoy the full measure the joy that is available to all who would make Jesus their Lord
  7. Verse 14—Christians are not of this world. It is a temporary dwelling. 
  8. Verse 15-19—Jesus doesn’t ask God to remove Christians from the world rather that He protect them by sanctifying them by the Word of God. Sanctification means to be set apart. Set apart for what, you ask? Being set apart for God means that you are an instrument of purpose for the King. You have a task that God has specifically designed just for you. No one else can do what God has asked you to do. 

Illustration—Song “I Refuse”

Sometimes I, I just wanna close my eyes And act like everyone’s alright

well no they’re not

This world needs God, but it’s easier to stand and watch

I could say a prayer and just move on like nothin’s wrong

But I refuse 

cause I don’t wanna live like I don’t care

I don’t wanna say another empty prayer

Oh I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else

To do what God has called me to do myself

Oh I could choose not to move but I refuse

I can hear the least of these cryin’ out so desperately

and I know we are the hands and feet of You oh God

So if You say move it’s time for me to follow through

and do what I was made to do

and show them who You are

Cause I don’t wanna live like I don’t care

I don’t wanna say another empty prayer

Oh I refuse to sit around and wait for someone else

to do what God has called me to do myself

Oh I could choose not to move

but I refuse

To stand and watch the weary and lost cry out for help

I refuse to turn my back

and try and act like all is well

I refuse

To stay and change to wait another day to die to myself

I refuse to make one more excuse

Application—Have you accepted the calling God has given to you?

  • Jesus prays for His future followers, 20-26

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. 25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

  1. Verse 20-21—Jesus ends His amazing prayer by praying for future believers. He prayed nearly 2,000 years ago for you and for me to come to a saving knowledge of Him.
  2. Verse 22—He prays that He has given us the Glory of God so we can be one. Christians all over the world are our brother and sisters in Christ.
  3. Verse 23—Unity is the cry of our Lord. He wants us to be together and love each other so others can know and believe in God
  4. Verse 24—Now Jesus come to a climax in the prayer. He wants us to be where He is so we can experience His glory, the glory that was before the creation of the world!
  5. Verse 25-26—Jesus prays for the world to know Him through us. You have been bathed in prayer by Jesus Himself, so you are free to move about the country proclaiming Christ to the Nations. You need not fear because he has you covered.

Closing—This is Jesus final blessing over his followers as He is about to begin the process of His trial, crucifixion, and resurrection. Jesus powerful prayer for you and me in order to change the world. 

Are you ready to change the world? What is stopping you? You have already been prayed over, not it is time to move forward. Wherever you go, He is with you.

Joshua 1:6-9—Be strong and courageous, because you will lead these people to inherit the land I swore to their ancestors to give them. “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Stay in the Light, 1 John 1:7,

Pastor Larry

Published by Larry Floyd

Follower of Jesus the Messiah. Husband, father, grandfather, son, uncle, friend, and pastor

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