All too often we think of prayer only as guidance and requests. the thing the saint wants to know above everything else isthat all is well between his soul and the Father. There is nothing thesaint delights in more than to know God as his Father. He likes to maintain the contact and communion, to assure his heart before God and in the presence of God. The saint is in this difficult world; there are temptations from the outside, and the whole world is against him, and the saint is tired—sometimes he almost despairs. So he goes to God immediately, not to ask this or that but just to make certain that all is well there, that the contact is unbroken and perfect, that he can assure his heart and know that all is well.
That is what our Lord is doing in John 17, and that is the thing that stands out most frequently in that prayer. Our Lord is assuring His own human heart in the presence of His Father. He did this also when He was raising Lazarus from the dead; indeed He puts it in words for us: “Then they took away the stone. . . . And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, ‘Father’”—He is praying—“‘I thank thee that thou hast heard me’”—always He is assured in His heart—“‘And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people . . .’”(John 11:41-42). He just turns to God. He knows all is well, but He is assuring His heart in the presence of God.
The saints always prayed to God, and our Lord supremely did so, because they believed in God’s power,because they believed in God’s ability to help, and, above all, because they believed in God’s willingness and readiness to help.Our Lord is assuring His own human heart in the presence of HisFather.
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