Bishop Cray - Praying as Jesus did
Bishop Graham Cray addressed leaders who were gathered at the HOPE Forum, Jesus House, on 2nd November 2011 to pray and plan united mission. He spoke about the importance of prayer for Christian unity and praying as Jesus prayed.
Address from Bishop Graham Cray - Prayer and Unity
John 17:1 After Jesus had spoken these words, Bishop Graham Cray - HOPE Forumhe looks up to heaven and said ‘Abba’ which means ‘Father’ There is the heart of the Christian faith. We long for women and men all over these nations to learn to address God and say the same and to live their lives accordingly.
How can our prayer be shaped by His prayer? We, who are committed to unity in mission?
Jesus makes seven petitions - two for himself, three for his disciples, two for those who will become disciples.
"Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you. since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent." John 17 1-3
For Him to be glorified means empowered to go to the cross. The only motive to ask for God's glory is so that we glorify Him. 'Let you glory fall' is a prayer that we may give ourselves up in His service. 'Glorify me' has nothing to do with my glory, but His. Note the way the Father and the Son continually honour one another. The glory of God is a reciprocal relationship: it is something forever freely given. That is the mark of good Church relationships too.
1. We pray that we will glorify the Father
"I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed." John 17 4-5
Father, I can come home now. I have finished the work you gave me to do.
"As for me, I am already being poured out as a libation, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith, From now on there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have longed for his appearing." 2 Timothy 4:6
He has no wish to come home alone;
"Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world." John 17:24
2. We pray for the grace and strength to finish the work.
Then He prays for the disciples.
"I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They
were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7 Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8 for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me. so that they may be one, as we are one. While I was with them, I protected them in your name that you have given me. I guarded them, and not one of them was lost except the one destined to be lost, so that the scripture might be fulfilled. John 17:6-12
Unity is a gift of God through the cross, but it needs divine protection.
When Christians fall out the Devil has a victory.
The unity of believers is a prime target for spiritual assault.
Unity is not the absence of discord it is 'one as we are one' - mutual trust, mutual honour and mutual sacrifice. And, like the divine hospitality, it is wide open for others to join.
3. We pray for divine protection of our unity
"But now I am coming to you, and I speak these things in the world so that they may have my joy made complete in themselves. I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world. I am not asking you to take them out of the world, but I ask you to protect them from the evil one. They do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world." John 17: 13-16
We are in the world but protected. We don’t want to out of the world as a way of protecting ourselves.
"I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral persons - not at all meaning the immoral of this world, or the greedy and robbers, or idolaters, since you would then need to go out of the world. But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother or sister who is sexually immoral or greedy, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or robber. Do not even eat with such a one." I Corinthians 5:9
4. We pray for the grace to permeate society with lives of Christian integrity
"Sanctify them in the truth: your word is truth. As you have sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, so that they also may be sanctified in truth." John 17: 17-18
Set them apart to serve your truth.
Equip them to live your truth
The days of 'come to us' mission are largely over. We need to go, to stay and to plant culturally appropriate churches which engage God's holy truth with life as it is now, in each place, (fresh expressions of church).
We are a sent people, an apostolic people, hearing the call to go.
5. We pray for the grace to live and share God's truth wherever he sends us.
Then He prays for those who will come to faith through his disciples’ witness.
Do we ever pray for those we do not yet know, but whom we will lead to Christ?
"I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17: 20-23
He knows the good news will be fruitful in his disciples' ministries.
He prays that their witness will create communities of love which draw even more people to faith, and which validate the claims Christians make, by the lives Christians live.
A new relationship between mission and unity - unity through sharing in mission together.
6. We pray for the planting of churches which demonstrate the love of God
"Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where i am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world. Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them." John 17:24-26
He longs for us, and all who believe to be with Him.
That is why He is about to go to the cross. He thinks we're worth it!
His next prayer will be in Gethsemane.
7. We pray that we will share His love of lost men and women so much, that we will sacrifice ourselves to have them in His presence with us.
So, We pray that we will glorify the Father; We pray for the grace and strength to finish the work; We pray for divine protection of our unity; We pray for the grace to permeate society with lives of Christian integrity; We pray for the grace to live and share God's truth wherever He sends us; We pray for the planting of churches which demonstrate the love of God; We pray that we will share His love of lost men and women so much, that we will sacrifice ourselves to have them in His presence with us.
May the prayer of Jesus shape our prayer and our lives in his service.
Graham Cray - November 2011