Impacting Cities & Communities thru Prayer
A Community of Prayer Champions, Praying Churches, Prayed-for Communities
Are Your Prayers God-Centered?
Kingdom Prayer Perspectives from John 17:1
By J. Chris Schofield
Office of Prayer, BSCNC
One day while preparing to speak at a conference I went into a small Sunday school classroom to pray. As I sat in a chair and prayed I scanned the room and noticed that numerous prayer requests were listed on a white board. I thought it was interesting that all the prayer requests on the white board were focused on upcoming health tests and various physical needs in people’s lives. In fact, none were focused on spiritual issues or the Father and His work in the circumstances of these people’s lives.
Through the years I have observed that we often spend much of our time praying toward temporal issues that are focused on our circumstances and desires. The reality is that if North America is to be penetrated with the Gospel, our prayers will need to focus on our Father and His purposes and desires. Jesus shows us how to pray toward the Father in John 17:1.
John 17:1-Focusing on the Father and His Desires
“…Father, the hour has come: glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you…”
The “high priestly” prayer of John 17 takes place in Jesus’ passion during the last week of His earthly life. Despite these intense circumstances, His prayer was focused on the Father and His mission being fulfilled.
The God-centeredness of Jesus’ prayer is first seen with the use of the term “Father” in verse 1. Jesus shows us that prayer is relational and is not just something we just do, like a ritual or task. He is modeling the principal that intimacy with the Father is essential as we pray.
The phrase “the hour has come,” points to Jesus’ awareness of the significant times that were near. He was sensitive to the Father’s hour. Jesus was praying with a view toward what the Father was accomplishing in His world. Are we praying toward the Father’s hour in our world?
Jesus’ prayer “Glorify the Son, that the Son may glorify Thee” demonstrates selfless praying. His desire is that all would recognize who the Father was through His own glorification. His act of obedience in surrendering to the cross allows for the completion of the work of the Christ beyond that event. As Jesus is glorified, the lost world is redeemed and the Father is ultimately made known as His followers tell the story of the Christ down through the ages (see John 17:20). Warren Wiersby correctly comments, “We glorify our Father in heaven by being what Jesus told us to be: salt in a decaying world and light in a dark world (Matt. 5:13-16).” God-centered praying produces passionate and effective witnesses-- It did then and it will now!
How then shall we pray?
 The term “Father” or some form (e.g., “Holy Father”) of this intimate address is used 6 times in this chapter: verses, 1, 5, 11, 21, 24, and 25. All Biblical terms/phrases are from the NASB translation.
The glorification/exaltation of Jesus is linked to the three “lifted up” sayings in John (John 3:14-15; John 8:28; John 12:32). The Father is glorified as the Son is lifted up on the cross, out of the grave and to the right hand of the Father—where He ever lives to make intercession for those who believe (see Hebrews 7:25). The Father is thus made known (glorified) as Jesus obeys and is lifted up.