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Praying for the World

Daily Reading: John 17

Scripture Focus: So that the world may believe that you have sent me... (John 17.21b)

Devotional Thought: Last week, it was my pleasure to receive communion with and hear a message from my pastor, District Superintendent Bob Mahaffey. Bob commented from John 17, that Jesus prayed for himself, for his disciples, and for us. "Yeah, yeah," I thought, "I know that." But Bob went on, "What we sometimes miss is that he prayed for 'the world,' too." "He did?" I pondered. "I thought that he said, 'I am not praying for the world...'"

I went home and discovered what Bob was talking about. While he did say, at one point, he was not praying for the world, that was in relation to a specific request for his disciples, not a comment about his prayer overall. In each prayer - for himself, his disciples and for us - he prayed for the world:

• When Jesus prayed for himself, he expressed his confidence that he had been used by God to bring God's glory to the world (v. 4). Jesus always kept his mission in mind, didn't he? "For God so loved the world..."

• When Jesus prayed for his disciples (v. 11), he noted that they would remain in the world as witnesses. He wanted his disciples to keep his mission in mind, too! But, he didn't want them to be contaminated by the world, rather to infect the world with the love of God. They were set apart (sanctified) for God's purpose.

• When he prayed for us, for our unity, his motive was that the world may believe (v. 21). The overflowing joy we have as the united body of Christ, serves to make the world hungry to know the uniting Force of our lives - Jesus Christ.

Yes, Jesus prayed for the world, and we should, too!

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for teaching me to pray for myself, for leaders in the church and for my brothers and sisters in the church. Help me, also, to pray for the world, that they "may believe that you have sent me..." Amen.

Psalm of the Day: Psalm 37.25-33

25 I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. 26 He is ever lending generously, and his children become a blessing.

27 Turn away from evil and do good; so shall you dwell forever. 28 For the Lord loves justice; he will not forsake his saints. They are preserved forever, but the children of the wicked shall be cut off. 29 The righteous shall inherit the land and dwell upon it forever.

30 The mouth of the righteous utters wisdom, and his tongue speaks justice. 31 The law of his God is in his heart; his steps do not slip.

32 The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death. 33 The Lord will not abandon him to his power or let him be condemned when he is brought to trial.

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