The First 15

Monday June 8, 2020

by First Methodist Mansfield

Jesus Prays for Us


John 17:20-23

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.


Today’s reading is a portion of the prayer Jesus prayed specifically for us on the same night he was betrayed and arrested. Jesus had a unique perspective on the future of the world that evening and I believe, through his prayer, he was placing a lot of hope for the world in our hands.

Unity matters to Jesus.

I can hear the desire of Jesus’ heart for us and our world in this prayer. But, coming together and including everyone, loving everyone, sacrificing to live in unity, that’s not something we’re naturally drawn to. More often, we like to go our own way. Do our own thing. Self-isolate to avoid the messiness of what others bring to the table.

Richard Rohr writes, “When we read the Gospel texts carefully, we see that the only people Jesus seems to “exclude” are those who exclude others. Exclusion might be described as the core sin. Don’t waste any time rejecting, excluding, eliminating, or punishing anyone or anything else. Everything belongs, including you.”

If this is true, if the desire of Jesus’ heart is for his followers to be people who no longer waste time rejecting, excluding, eliminating or punishing others in our life together, if unity matters to Jesus, then there are a few questions we should be asking ourselves. For instance,

Who have I been holding an unfair bias against and why? What kind of effect has this had?

Who do I especially need to include or share acceptance with today?

How can I better live into Jesus’ prayer for us tomorrow?

Answers to these questions probably won’t come right away, so spend time listening for the Holy Spirit’s response throughout the day. Then, write down what you hear and determine how the Spirit is nudging you to take action.

Prayer for Today

Lord God, we are your people, holy and dearly loved by you. Help us to clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Help us to bear with each other and forgive one another if any of us has a grievance against someone. Help us to forgive as you have forgiven us. And over all these virtues, help us to put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Amen.

-the practice of praying from scripture, using Colossians 3:12-14

The First 15

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