Daily Reflection

From a Creighton Student's Perspective

June 7, 2011

Liz Halfmann

Sophomore, Theology and Social Work Double Major,
Spanish Minor

Acts 20:17-27
Ps 68:10-11, 20-21
Jn 17:1-11a

“I pray for them.” - John 17:9

One sentence. So simple. So powerful. Jesus, two millennia ago, prayed for me. Prayed for you. Prayed for us, on our journeys. Together.

Whenever I read this passage, I envision a Jesus passionately in prayer. I can’t help but see a man with his heart on fire with love, truly communicating, truly one with his Father in heaven from whom he came and to whom he will return.  He understood he was physically leaving his friends, both the Apostles and us, soon. He knew how difficult this world was to live in; he knew the challenges, frustrations, and persecutions firsthand, and he didn’t want to leave us hanging. So he prayed.

He prayed that we could transcend the world. He offered our difficulties to the Father. He brought our crosses to the Father before he brought his own on Calvary. He prayed that we might have the strength, through our faith, to continue in the world, living apart from it. How often I have prayed this very prayer myself…forgetting that our Lord first offered this on my behalf during the Last Supper.

Certainly Paul too took heart in Jesus’ prayer when he explained that “the Holy Spirit has been warning me that imprisonment and hardships await me.” But instead of waiting for that worldly imprisonment and hardship fearfully, Paul jumped right into his mission in order to “finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace.” Paul so deeply believed that Jesus would not abandon him as he strove to live as a witness of the Truth that his faith did not waver.

How often I doubt my own faith, though! Sometimes I too feel like imprisonment and hardship are the only things that await me on my faith journey, but instead of jumping into my Father’s arms during these times, I burrow myself further into worldliness. I give into temptations. I fall into sloth. I forget the standards to which the Father holds his children.
Jesus knows the mission he has given each of us is not an easy one. To live for him in a world that constantly pulls us in the opposite direction, away from the one we love most, is quite taxing, actually. What’s reassuring, though, is that Jesus knows our hearts too. He knows when we strive for faithfulness and he understands our hardships. That’s why his prayer is such a relief. It’s not a free pass to heaven nor a coupon for an easy life, but it’s a promise to remain with us through it all.

 “I pray for them.”

Try replacing “them” with your name. He gets it. And he’s never stopped praying to the Father on our behalf.

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