John 17:1–11; Ephesians 1:17–23 (read online ⧉)
I thought how ironic it was that I’d dismissed dog meat as a cultural idiosyncrasy in Vietnam; that “who I am to judge?” extended to Islamic laws in Uzbekistan and Buddhist temple restrictions in Cambodia, but not to Republicans, hunters or gun owners. I’d shaken my head at the prejudices some nations had for their closest neighbors, only to discover that, among my cultural neighbors, I was just as prejudiced.Liz Dodd, Welcome to the New World
Liz Dodd is a self-avowed liberal who, on a spiritual journey, discovered a few things about herself. If we’re honest about ourselves, we all have some serious issues with this. You may the Republican, hunter, and gun-owner who struggles with the Democrat, vegan, pacifist who you think is un-American.
And? We are called to pray for one another. Often when praying for the other, it is not they who are changed, we are the ones who change.
When Jesus prayed to the Father for the Father and the Son, it can seem a little odd. If the Trinity holds true, God is praying for God and, well, God. On top of that God is praying for the glory of God, which could seem selfish and arrogant.
In this unique time, Jesus isn’t “just” God. Jesus is human. Jesus isn’t quite on the inside of the Godhead. It’s strange. It’s okay that it’s strange.
Jesus then prays for others. He specifically prays for those that have accepted him as the Messiah, and in Jesus’ obedience, the Holy Spirit will come to them. It should be noted that Jesus does not pray for the world. Later, he commissions them to go into all the world. He is focused, at this time, on those that are (less Judas Iscariot) going to move forward with the Gospel.
Moving forward with the Gospel often means that we have to let go of a lot of things. In the Newsboys song, “Landslide of Love” they say, “Every time we shout our rights out we get all grouchy and gray.” In the USA, letting go of our rights is a hard thing, and we often hold one “right” tightly, while another person calls it a “privilege”.
Paul tells the Ephesians that he prays that they receive Holy Spirit empowered revelation and knowledge of God. This is so that they have a hope beyond what is going on around us. For this hope to be effective, often the Holy Spirit will nudge us out of our comfort zone of political association, hobbies, work, career. The Holy Spirit will nudge us when we don’t have God in mind.
However, often we are too immature or blind or deaf to hear the Holy Spirit nudges. If we haven’t felt or heard the Holy Spirit nudging us, then the likelihood is that we have become blind or deaf, or have a new place of spiritual immaturity to be worked on.
Our prayers for others must exceed our discomfort with others. Our rights are under the feet of God. Our enemies are under the feet of God. We are under the feet of God. In other words, everything is equaling under the feet of God. We are to be One Church, Under God. Everything else may well be a barrier between us and a full relationship with God.
※ Prayer ※
Father, help us to pray as Jesus did…for your glory. Thank you, Jesus, for your earthly example of what it means to serve the Father. Holy Spirit, bind us to the plan and goals of the Father. Amen.
※ Questions ※
1) Why has what divides us overwhelmed what unites us, whether as Christians or as humans (who bear the image of God)?
2) What is your immediate “gut” response to the lyrics from the Newsboys? What rights do you hold onto?
3) What has the Holy Spirit been nudging you regarding breaking the barriers you have placed between yourself and others?