Thoughts on three prayers of Jesus
Elfed Godding 19/02/21
drawn from ‘God on Mute’ by Pete Greig
The second chapter of Paul’s letter to the Philippians (2:5-11) traces the startling process of God’s self-limitation from the courts of heaven through the indignity of birth, the humility of servanthood and death at the hands of His creatures ‘even death on a cross’.
We will never be able to begin to understand the physical, emotional and psychological pressure Jesus faced in approaching the cross so that he could ‘bear our sins in his body on the tree’, 1Peter 2:24.
As Pete Greig, one of the founding champions of the 24-7 Prayer Movement, writes ‘On three occasions as he approached the time of his crucifixion Jesus experienced unanswered prayer but only one of these remains unanswered to this day’.
In Gethsemane Jesus prayed that the cup of suffering and separation would be taken from him, Matthew 26:39, but it was not. At least not immediately.
On the cross, Jesus asked, ‘Why have you forsaken me?’, Matthew 27:46, and there was no answer. The answer would come, but not for two days.
A third prayer of Jesus has remained unanswered for 2000 years. Jesus said to his Father in heaven “I pray that all of them may be one … so that the world may believe that you have sent me” John 17:20-21. This is often referred to as Christ’s High Priestly Prayer for Christian unity which he revealed as key to God’s mission on earth. It remains unfulfilled to this day globally because it is dependent upon voluntary human obedience to God’s will.
Pete Greig writes ‘In our determination to divide and our refusal to forgive each other as Christians we deny Jesus an answer to His cherished prayer for unity’. What a challenge!
This third prayer will be answered when the ‘Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come’, Matthew 24:14.
Let’s take time this week to pray for Christian unity across Wales, and within our village. Pray for Christchurch, the Methodist Church, Cedron Church and Bethania to work together to make Christ known. Let’s pray too for Evangelical Alliance Wales www.eauk.org/wales and CYTUN www.cytun.co.uk as they serve churches in mission across our nation.