“I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.” (John 17:14-15)
At this point in His farewell to His disciples Jesus offered a prayer for His disciples. This prayer is often called His High Priestly prayer since in it He acts as intercessor with the Father. As High Priest Jesus would offer a sacrifice that would make possible the unity He has prayed for. His sacrifice was the ultimate in atonement, the one that the Old Covenant sacrifices prefigured. The sacrifice was to be His body. His blood, not the blood of bulls or goats, would be poured out and sprinkled on the mercy seat for the sins of all mankind. This sacrifice would be performed once for all time.
In the light of that sacrifice He prayed now for those He loved. He asked for courage and faith for the disciples that none of them would fall away from faith though they would be sorely tested. In some ways, Jesus’ prayer can help us to pray for others. For one thing this prayer is filled with confidence and trust in the face of the unimaginable suffering Jesus would endure. Thus when we pray we ought to be confident that God hears us even when we are filled with fear. No matter what happens, the Lord will be with us.
In addition Jesus did not pray for Himself but for others. This does not mean we should never pray for ourselves, something which few of us neglect to do but that we should intercede for others. We should follow Jesus’ example and pray for the blessing of faith not just for our brethren in Christ but for the unsaved and the un-churched that they may come to Jesus and find faith, truth and redemption.