6 “I have manifested your name to the people whom you gave me out of the world. Yours they were, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 8 For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. 10 All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one. 12 While I was with them, I kept them in your name, which you have given me. I have guarded them, and not one of them has been lost except the son of destruction, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. 13 But now I am coming to you, and these things I speak in the world, that they may have my joy fulfilled in themselves. 14 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. 15 I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one.[a] 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them[b] in the truth; your word is truth. 18 As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. 19 And for their sake I consecrate myself,[c] that they also may be sanctified[d] in truth.”
This section of the prayer is often titled “Jesus prays for his disciples”. The basis of his prayer seems to be:
(i) what he has done and what he is doing (v6-8,12): does the way we live impact our ability to pray effectively? This is more clearly indicated for us in James 5v16 and 1 Peter 3v7.
(ii) The disciples knowledge of the truth with regard to who Jesus is, they belong to Jesus and God, that Jesus is glorified in them and that they are in the world which hates them because they are different to the world : Should the spiritual truth of a situation be at least as important in our prayers as the practical truth.
He then prays that:
(i) that they would be protected from the evil one, and
(ii) that they would be made holy (sanctified) in the truth of God’s word.
What can I learn?
(i) The basis of effective prayer for other believers is that: a) I am seeking to exercise God’s work in my life, and b) I acknowledge with thankfulness the relationship these believers have with God (see also Philippians 1v3 or Colossians 1v3).
(ii) Our prayer is not that they are taken out of the situation, but that a) God protects them from the evil one and b) God makes them holy through the truth of His Word.
So maybe we can model this prayer of Jesus in these words: “Our heavenly Father, I thank you that person x belongs to you and you are glorified in them, that is truly wonderful. But Lord, they are in the world which is a difficult place, so protect them from the evil one and make them holy in living by the truth of your Word.”
With love and blessing,