Jesus is Praying for Whom?


When I was growing up, I thoroughly enjoyed team sports. There was nothing better than being on a cohesive team. On the other hand, I also realized that there is nothing more discouraging and stifling than a disjointed and disconnected team. As the church, we are on the most important team one could ever imagine. The importance of the mission is beyond any purpose this world could ever give. Teamwork and cohesiveness allow a church to be a beacon of light for the gospel. Lack of unity and unhealthy discourse is something the evil one will undoubtedly take advantage of.

  • In what ways have you experienced unity (and disunity) in past church experiences? 


17:1 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

“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. Now they know that everything that you have given me is from you. 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. 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. 16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. 17 Sanctify them 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, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


(Today’s questions focus on verses 17:6-19.)

  1. In verse 9, what do you see Jesus doing?
  2. What was Jesus praying to his father about in verses 11 and 15?
  3. If you were in Satan’s shoes, what methods would you use to create disunity within the body of believers?
  4. Consider that Jesus is continually praying for our strength, for our spiritual growth, and for our unity. How might this truth impact how we see all Christian relationships (marriages, friendships, church members, etc.)?


The devil is a prowling lion and he desires to bring disunity among Christ’s followers. Christian unity does not come from trying harder, or from trying to take on Satan by yourself. It comes from leaning on the power of the Holy Spirit. It comes from realizing we have an intermediary in Jesus who is continually praying for our strength. It comes from engaging his strength, instead of our own.

  • Spend time thanking Jesus for the strength that only he can provide. Thank him for the cross and for the freedom and unity that come from operating in his strength and not our strength as a body of believers.