Christ Prays For Us

CALL TO WORSHIP: Sing praises to God and to His name! Sing loud praises to Him who rides the clouds. His name is the LORD — Rejoice in His presence!

Lord of all time and space, we think of the first disciples, seeing Jesus go back to heaven, and returning to wait patiently, ready for You to act in their lives.

We have gathered together today to worship You and we know that You are just as close and just as powerful as You were then. Help us to be ready to listen to You, and to be prepared for You to act in mighty ways, for You are the same, yesterday, today and forever. Amen.

HYMN 342: ALL HAIL THE POWER OF JESU’S NAME-StF

PRAYER OF ADORATION: Great and wonderful God, Your name is the Lord, and we have come to sing Your praises. Yours is the power and the glory forever and ever, amen.

You are great and mighty, but You care for the weak. You notice those whom the world ignores. You remember the needy; You never forget Your people.

Yours is the power and the glory forever and ever, amen.

The world itself is Yours. You created it and it matters to You. You know about every stick and stone. You send rain and sunshine to make things grow; You want all Your people to be fed.

Yours is the power and the glory forever and ever, amen.

You are the rider of the heavens, and Your voice is awesome. You are King over all other kings on earth and You reign over heaven. You give strength to Your people.

Yours is the power and the glory forever and ever, amen.

TALK FOR ALL: God’s “One” Family -John 17:1-11

 (Sung) Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so.

Do you know that song? It’s called Jesus Loves Me. And he does. Jesus loves me. And he loves you too. We are all special people – all by ourselves. We have our own bodies. We have our own names, and Jesus knows and loves every one of us.

There’s only one of you. But even then, you are also part of some special groups that come together as “one.”

You are a part of one family and one school. And while you’re there you’re a part of one special classroom, aren’t you? That’s kind of a funny thought, isn’t it – that groups of people can come together as “one?” Even very big groups!

In today’s Gospel story, Jesus explains that he and God are “one.” They are joined together in a very special way. So special that you can’t have one without the other. And before he leaves the world and returns to heaven, he makes a special wish for us. He asks God to protect us and to make us one with them. And just look at us! Jesus’ wish has come true!

We are here together – at our one church – all for the very same reason: to celebrate being a part of God’s one family. It’s the reason that coming to church each week is so special. It’s a place for coming together as one.

Will you pray with me?

Dear God, we know that you love us – each and every one. But we are so lucky to be members of your larger family as well. Thank you for the chance to be one with you. Amen.

CONFESSION AND THANKSGIVING:  Jesus said of His disciples: ‘They were always Yours.’ Lord, forgive us when we forget that we belong to You.

Jesus said: ‘They have kept Your word.’ Lord, forgive us when we do not obey You.

Jesus said: ‘They believe You sent me.’ Lord, forgive us when our doubts and fears prevent us from serving You.

In a moment of quiet, let us each confess to God the ways in which we have not been faithful disciples of Jesus. We thank You Lord, that because Jesus died and rose again, we can be forgiven for the wrong things that we have said and done.

 Help us to remember that just as Jesus prayed for His disciples then, so He continues to pray for us now. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit, and strengthen us to follow You more faithfully. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen

READING: JOHN 17: 1-11

HYMN 317: AT THE NAME OF JESUS-StF

SERMON “CHRIST PRAYS FOR US”

When Jesus prayed, what was central on His mind? We actually have a record of one of Jesus’ most important prayers and what He prayed about. Let’s look at what was on Jesus’ mind in His important prayer in John 17:1-11.

John 17:1 (NKJV) Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You…”

This is part of the Lord’s “high priestly prayer.” We don’t know how God inspired this record. The prayer’s emphasis is unmistakably Jesus, as he prayed for glory, eternal life and unity for his followers. “Glorify” means power, honour, praise and the exalted position that Jesus had from the beginning.

It means, “the glory which I had with You before the world was.” It includes the glory of the cross, “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.” It includes the glory of followers, “I am glorified in them.”

This is for us a great and eternal – that is, ongoing – blessing. But as Methodist in the UK, we are not able to gather in worship and celebrate that feast because of COVID-19. Yet we can join Jesus is the Upper Room.

In that room, at the conclusion of the meal, Jesus offered a prayer, which we now call the High Priestly prayer. We heard part of that prayer in our readings. He prayed that His Father would keep his disciples from the evil one. He did not ask that they be taken out of the world, but that they be made holy – sanctified, and be kept safe. He asked that they would be united, be one, even as He and His Father are one. Think of how close is the eternal unity of the Father and the Son. It is that same unity that Christ prayed for His disciples. And for us.

Not everything in Scripture is directed to us. God has not commanded us to build an Ark, nor to march around Jericho seven times. But we can have confidence that Jesus’s prayer offered that night, in the Upper Room, was not only for His disciples then, but is for us now, too – for you and for me. For Jesus Himself says, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word.” Jesus’ prayer that evening was for you and I. He said so. It is true.

When they were finished, Jesus and His disciples went to the Garden of Gethsemane. It is a garden of olive trees next to the temple. In it there is an olive press for making olive oil. “Gethsemane” means pressing. You know well that in this hour, Jesus went and prayed to His Father, “Take this cup from Me, yet not My will, but Yours be done.” He also encouraged His disciples to pray, “lest you fall into temptation.”

It is these same requests that we pray in the prayer He gave us. “Thy Will be done, … Deliver us from evil, lead us not into temptation.” In the Lord’s Prayer we are continuing the prayers which Jesus made that night, in the Upper Room and in the Garden. But we know, don’t we, that like the sleepy disciples we fail to pray keep watch; both in our hour of pressing, and in our times of feasting. Yet we need not despair. For our prayers do not depend on us. Not only did Christ pray for us in the Upper Room, He Himself prays for us continually. St Paul writes, “Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.” (Romans 8).

Christ offered Himself as the perfect and eternal sacrifice. By His death and passion, we have been washed and sanctified. By His resurrection He has restored us to life in His Name. He has not taken us out of this world. We still battle evil. We still face the time of pressing. But we know that we are His. We know that He has and will deliver us from the evil one. And we know that He prays for us, even though we fail to pray for ourselves.

Deliver us, O Lord, from every evil and grant us peace in our days, in your mercy keep us free from sin and safe from all distress, as we await in hope the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

HYMN 328: JESUS SHALL REIGN WHERE’ER THE SUN-StF

PRAYERS OF INTERCESSION: Faithful God, we remember how the disciples had to go back to Jerusalem to wait for what would happen next. Today, we pray for those who have to be patient

‘Wait for the Lord whose day is near; wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.’

We pray for those who have to make plans that will take a long time to come about. We think of those in government, planning for years ahead. Help them to remember the needs of the future as well as the present.

We pray too for those who are working for the good of the natural world; for those planting forests, cleaning the oceans, or encouraging fish numbers to grow; for those working with animals. Help them not to be discouraged, even when they know they may not see the results of their work in their own lifetime.

‘Wait for the Lord whose day is near; wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.’

We pray for those having to be patient because they are ill in hospital or at home, and cannot do the things that they want to do. We pray too for those who are disabled, who find that everyday tasks can take a long time to perform. Help them not to be discouraged.

‘Wait for the Lord whose day is near; wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.’

We pray for those who work for the growth of the church. We think especially of those who have been serving You for many years, but have not seen many results of their efforts.

We think of those who have been praying for something and are still waiting for an answer. Help them to listen to You and to understand that Your answer may not be the one that they expect.

‘Wait for the Lord whose day is near; wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.’

We pray now for ourselves. Thank-you for Your patience with us. We know that we are not always very patient, especially with those around us. Help us to see them as You do, special, and made in Your image.

Some of us may have been praying for something for a long time, and may be finding it hard to be patient. Help us to put our trust in You, and to remember that Your time is best.

‘Wait for the Lord whose day is near; wait for the Lord, be strong, take heart.’

In Jesus’ name. Amen THE LORD’S PRAYER

HYMN 323: I WILL SING THE WONDROUS STORY-StF

BLESSINGS: Jesus said, ‘Protect them by the power of Your name’. Lord, as we go from this place, protect us as we seek to serve You, and as we wait patiently for the coming of Jesus; and the blessing of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit continue to be upon us and remain with us always. Amen