December 27

Today's Bible Reading
     II Chronicles 32
     Revelation 18
     Zachariah 14
     John 17
            “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to Heaven, and said: Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You.” (John 17:1)
The Priority of Prayer
            What a privilege it is for us to have the veil drawn back and given admission to the Holy of Holies and see, face to face, communion between the Father and the Son. Jesus has just a few hours before the Cross, but in this particular chapter, He doesn't see the sufferings of the Cross. He sees beyond the sufferings to the glory. Here is the end of Christ's earthly ministry, and the beginning of His ministry of mediation and intercession. He is now seated at the right hand of the Father, interceding on our behalf.
            Jesus had always been a man of prayer.  We know very little of His boyhood days, but as a boy, at the age of twelve said, ''I must be about My Father's business''. Surely He must have spent much time alone in communion with His Heavenly Father. After He was baptized by John the Baptist at the age of 30, He was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness where He spent 40 days and nights in fasting and prayer.
            Just watch the prayer life of our Lord during His public ministry. The crowds pressed around and sought to make Him a king. He slipped away to the secret place of prayer. Before He chose His Disciples, He spent the night in prayer. Often, in the early mornings, when the Disciples were still asleep, He would go to the mountainside and spend an hour in communion with God.
            When He went to raise Lazarus from the dead, He prayed. In the Garden of Gethsemane, we hear Him pray so earnestly that His sweat was as great drops of blood. Finally, as He hung upon the Cross, He stopped dying long enough to pray for His enemies; ''Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."  But it is here in the l7th chapter of John that we hear Jesus offering the greatest prayer that ever ascended to the throne of God. Since He was the greatest man who ever lived, the man closest to God, naturally this prayer was the greatest prayer. We do not know where this prayer was offered, but we do know this. Many of His Disciples were on their way to Gethsemane from the Upper Room. He had been teaching them some great truths and now He stops to pray.
            John Knox had this chapter read to him every day during his last illness. In the closing scene of his life, the verses that were read from it consoled and animated him in the final conflict. Now, if it were important for the Son of God to pray, how much more important it is for us to pray. May the prayer life of Jesus motivate us to understand the priority of prayer in our lives.
            Perhaps the greatest revolution in recent world missions’ activity has been the increase in the numbers of short-term workers. In most cases, these workers have a positive impact for Christ on the mission field. In some cases, however, it ismore like a vacation for them and has a negative influence. Pray for these short-term workers that they will have a genuine call from God, be serious about their commitment, be protected from harm, grow spiritually and, in some cases, respond to a call for long- term ministry.
            ''This is true to beyond measure a warm and hearty prayer. Jesus opens the depths of His heart, both in reference to us and to His Father, and He pours them all out. It sounds so honest, so simple; it is so deep, so rich, so wide, no one can fathom it."
 Martin Luther