Who Changed The Prayer?

Who Changed The Prayer?

John 17:17-23 – “Sanctify them [purify, consecrate, separate them for Yourself, make them holy] by the Truth; Your Word is Truth.  Just as You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world.  And so for their sake and on their behalf I sanctify (dedicate, consecrate) Myself, that they also may be sanctified (dedicated, consecrated, made holy) in the Truth.  Neither for these alone do I pray [it is not for their sake only that I make this request], but also for all those who will ever come to believe in (trust in, cling to, rely on) Me through their word and teaching, that they all may be one, [just] as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be one in Us, so that the world may believe and be convinced that You have sent Me.  I have given to them the glory and honor which You have given Me, that they may be one [even] as We are one: I in them and You in Me, in order that they may become one and perfectly united, that the world may know and [definitely] recognize that You sent Me and that You have loved them [even] as You have loved Me.”

If God were to give you the opportunity to pray one last prayer, what would you pray for?  If God were to give you the privilege to select an individual to pray on your behalf, who would you select?  The answer to this question is quite simple.  We should choose Jesus.  For us to understand why Jesus has to be the choice in this situation is for us to comprehend what prayer is, who God hears, who God answers, and who Jesus is.

Prayer is how we talk to God and God talks to us through His word.  In this communication, God has already spoken and we, as Christians, have the glorious privilege to pray to God and God will hear our prayers.  God has made it abundantly clear in His word who He will hear and who He will not hear.  For this reason, prayer is a spiritual blessing for the Christian.  Listen to your Bible!  In John 9:31, the Bible reads, “We know that God does not listen to sinners; but if anyone is God-fearing and a worshipper of Him and does His will, He listens to him.”  In this scripture, we learn two things:

  1. God does not hear a sinner’s prayer.  Oftentimes we hear, if you want to be saved, then all you have to do is pray the sinner’s prayer.  Question: Where in the Bible does it talk about a sinner’s prayer and how come Jesus never told anybody to pray this prayer in order to obtain salvation? 
  2. God only hears the individual who is a worshipper of Him and does His will.  If we want God to hear our prayers, then we must be a worshipper of God and we must do the will of God.  Only a Christian can worship God in Spirit and in truth.  Only a Christian can do the will of God and it be imputed unto him as righteousness, for righteousness is in Christ (Romans 3:21).

As Christians, God hears our prayers, but will He answer it in our favor?  It depends upon two things:

  1. The faith in which we asked.
  2. If it is the will of God. 

When we pray for something, but we do not believe God is going to come through, then this prayer will not be answered in our favor.  Listen to your Bible!  In Mark 11:24, the Bible reads, “For this reason I am telling you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe (trust and be confident) that it is granted to you, and you will [get it].”  Also, in James 1:5-6, the Bible reads, “If any of you is deficient in wisdom, let him ask of the giving God [Who gives] to everyone liberally and ungrudgingly, without reproaching or faultfinding, and it will be given him.  Only it must be in faith that he asks with no wavering (no hesitating, no doubting).  For the one who wavers (hesitates, doubts) is like the billowing surge out at sea that is blown hither and thither and tossed by the wind.”  Also, in James 4:3, the Bible reads, “[Or] you do ask [God for them] and yet fail to receive, because you ask with wrong purpose and evil, selfish motives.  Your intention is [when you get what you desire] to spend it in sensual pleasures.”  When we pray, we might have an agenda, but we must always pray knowing God’s way is the best way.  We must believe and trust His will for our lives.  Even Jesus in Luke 22:42 prayed, “Saying, Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” 

We know what prayer is.  We know who prayers God hears.  We know who prayers God answers.  Now the question is asked, “Why should we choose Jesus to pray this prayer for us?”

  1. Jesus was the Master Teacher, for He taught His disciples how to pray (Luke 11:1).  If anybody is going to pray for us, then we ought to choose the one who taught His disciples how to pray in the first place. 
  2. Jesus is not, was not, and never will be a sinner (Hebrews 4:15 and 1 Peter 2:22).  Therefore, the Father heard every prayer Jesus prayed. 
  3. God answered all of Jesus’ prayers in His favor.  We know this because the words of Jesus produces faith, for faith comes by hearing the word of God (Romans 10:17).  When Jesus talked, faith was the result.  Also, Jesus only spoke what God commanded Him to speak.  Jesus said in John 12:49-50, “This is because I have never spoken on My own authority or of My own accord or as self-appointed, but the Father Who sent Me has Himself given Me orders [concerning] what to say and what to tell.  And I know that His commandment is (means) eternal life.  So whatever I speak, I am saying [exactly] what My Father has told Me to say and in accordance with His instructions.”  So, Jesus prayed in submission to the will of God.  This is why we should choose Jesus to pray this last prayer for us.

This information serves as a foundation for the scriptural text.  In John 17, placing emphasis on verses 17-23, we read of Jesus praying a prayer.  What is it we know about this prayer without reading it? 

  1. We know Jesus knew what He was talking about. 
  2. We know God heard Jesus’ prayer. 
  3. We know God answered Jesus’ prayer in His favor. 

So, the question is asked, “What did Jesus pray for?”  Jesus prayed for the unity and oneness of the church.  As a result of what we have already studied, Jesus knew what He was praying for when He prayed for unity and oneness for the church.  God heard Jesus’ prayer for unity and oneness for the church.  But most importantly, God answered Jesus’ prayer for unity and oneness for the church.  However, when we look around us and we see churches on every corner, denominations popping up every day, and preachers teaching different things in the realm of religion, it makes us wonder, “Who changed the prayer?”

What is going on today and what Jesus prayed for are two totally different things.  It is important we understand this.  If we want to be one in Christ; if we want God to hear and answer our prayers in our favor, then we must start being a part of the solution (Abiding by the Scriptures) and not a part of the problem (Changing the prayer of the Lord).  This is what is dividing the religious world and it is not because God is unclear, but rather, men refuse to adhere.  This is the Lord’s Prayer regarding our salvation.  Who are we to change it?  We do not have the right to change the prayer to fit man, but man must change to fit the prayer.  Why?  It is because Jesus is not lost, we are!  Therefore, we must do what He says and not what we want.