Prayer: John 14-17 (A Homework Assignment)
Last words to close family and friends are important; they linger in our minds and affect us deeply. On the night before Jesus died, He spoke very intentionally to His disciples. A fair bit of what He told them that night has been preserved for us in John 14-16, and His longest recorded prayer comes at the close of that final evening with His disciples, given to us in John 17. Several themes run through those three chapters. Two very prominent ones are prayer and the Holy Spirit.
In those four chapters, Jesus is urging us to believe in prayer, to ask and expect great things from God. Every time I read through John 14-16, my prayer life is challenged and my lack of faith surfaces. To some of Jesus' statements I want to ask, "Really??" And my heart and prayers leap up for more faith to believe all that God has promised. I long for what Jesus has spoken to be fully realized in my own life.
Along with prayer, Jesus focuses on the Holy Spirit, commending us to Him and Him to us. By revealing the various ministries that the Holy Spirit will do for us, Jesus urges us to rely fully on His Spirit as the One whose heart desire is to help us, giving us all the strength and power and comfort that we need. In these chapters Jesus forges a strong link between prayer and the Holy Spirit.
Rather than saying more, I will give you a homework assignment. Self-discovery and interaction is always best! Read through John 14-16 and make 2 lists: 1 of all the things Jesus tells us about prayer and 1 of all the things Jesus tells us about the Holy Spirit. Then read John 17 and make another list of all the specific things Jesus prayed for.
After you've written the 3 lists, pray through them. Ask God to make your prayer life match what Jesus told us about prayer in those chapters. Thank God for the various ministries of the Holy Spirit Jesus promised to us in those chapters, and begin to claim them throughout your day. Then pray the things Jesus prayed for yourself and your circle of influence.
Let me know what you discover and how God ministers to you through that exercise!