Pray for One Another — Saturday Sermon from the Sidelines

John 17:6-19; 7 Easter B 2021

Friends, I need to recuperate spiritually a bit and spend more time in the garden. So here’s a message from another time and place that might be helpful.

Last week we heard Jesus’ command to love one another as Jesus loves us. Our gospel is part of a prayer Jesus prays for his disciples and all who trust in him. We could say that Jesus wants us to pray for one another as Jesus prays for us.

Do you wonder what Jesus is up to right now, sitting at the right hand of the Father? He is praying for you. For example, In Romans eight, verse thirty-four, Paul says, “It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.” Like the disciples, we are on the front lines in the battle against sin, death and the devil. So we need Jesus’ prayers to sustain us in the fight.

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Jesus prays in this prayer, not only for his disciples but also for “all those who believed in their account.” That’s us. We are included in Jesus’ prayer. What does it feel like to know that all those years ago Jesus was praying for you?

I hope you hear Jesus praying for you today. Jesus was praying for us all those years ago and continues to care for us, support us, and love and value us today. Where do you need to be one, to be more whole, to have more peace in your life? Take a moment and imagine Jesus is praying just for you today.

Jesus wants us to pray for one another as Jesus prays for us.

We have some interesting ideas about prayer. A five year old told his daddy he wanted a baby brother. The boy offered to help make this happen. Dad paused for a moment and then replied, “I’ll tell you what. If you pray every day for two months for a baby brother, I guarantee that God will give you one!”

The prospective older brother prayed every night for a whole month. Then he had some doubts. You just don’t pray for two months, he thought to himself, and then—whammo–a new baby brother. So he stopped praying.

After another month, mom went to the hospital. When she came back home, Johnny’s parents called him into the bedroom. There was a little bundle lying right next to his mother. His dad pulled back the blanket and there was — not one baby brother, but two!! His mother had twins!

Dad said, “Now aren’t you glad you prayed?” The boy looked up at his dad and said, “Yes, but aren’t you glad I quit when I did?”

Jesus wants us to pray for one another as Jesus prays for us.

We don’t do it for one another. I don’t do it often enough. We say, “I’ll pray for you.” But we hardly ever just sit down and do it. That may be hard for many of us. We may wonder if we know how to pray.

A family was having guests to dinner. At the table, the mother turned to her six-year-old daughter and says, “Dear, would you like to say the blessing?” “I wouldn’t know what to say,” replies the little girl. “Just say what you hear Mommy say, sweetie.”

Her daughter takes a deep breath, bows her head, and solemnly says, “Dear Lord, why in blazes did I invite all these people to dinner?” That may not have been the best prayer training the little girl could have received.

How can we pray for one another? When in doubt, imitate Jesus. Jesus wants us to pray for one another as Jesus prays for us.

Jesus prays for what the disciples need. They are afraid he is abandoning them. So he prays for what they need—protection, confidence and courage. When you pray for someone else, focus on that person. Listen closely for what that person needs. Ask for that need in simple words and sentences. Let God take care of the results.

Even with some tips and tricks tucked away in our brains, this still may be hard to do face to face. There are other ways to let people know you are praying for them. And it’s important that the people you pray for hear the words you say.

There were these two boys who lived with their Grandma. They were about to go to bed but before they slept they prayed. The older son started to pray. He prayed about the day he had and about everything he had done. The younger son then started to pray, he prayed much louder than his elder brother, he prayed for bikes and toys, and when he finished the older brother asked him “Why are you praying so loud? God is not deaf” and the younger son responded and said “Yea but Grandma is”

Just imagine how much reassurance the disciples received when they heard Jesus’ words. It’s important to ask God for the needs of others. It’s also helpful for the others to hear us as we pray.

Jesus wants us to pray for one another as Jesus prays for us.

Sometimes we are far away from someone who needs our prayers. Perhaps this week you might send someone a note or a card telling them you are praying for them. You might write out the prayer that you are praying for them. You might ask what else you can include in your prayers.

Sometimes our prayers can be more visible than audible. I was so grateful that one of our members made and brought a quilt to send to another member who had broken a bone. That quilt carried the prayers of many here and was a source of healing and strength.

Even though we regard social media sometimes as a tool of Satan, I also find it another way to share prayers with others. Sometimes I do it in a real time chat with someone. Sometimes I message or email my prayers. I’m often surprised by how helpful those prayers can be.

Jesus wants us to pray for one another as Jesus prays for us.

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