In this morning’s gospel, we have an extract from the prayer of Jesus for his disciples, set in the context of the last supper. In that prayer, Jesus declares that since first calling his disciples to himself he has watched over them and kept them true to God’s name.
Now in prayer, he calls on his Father to keep them true to God’s name. His prayer to the Father on their behalf is a further expression of the commitment he has shown to his disciples since first calling them. His intercessory prayer is an extension of the many ways he had served them since they first began to follow him.
In a similar way, our prayer for others is an expression of our commitment to them, our care for them; it is one of the ways we serve others. By his own intercessory prayer for his disciples – and that includes all of us – Jesus teaches us the value of all intercessory prayer. Intercessory prayer, prayer for others, has been at the heart of the church’s prayer life since the time of Jesus.
Paul in his letters frequently reports on his intercessory prayers for his churches and he often calls on his churches to pray for him. Both Jesus and Paul were heirs to a Jewish tradition that greatly valued this form of prayer. Praying for others is one of the ways we give expression to our communion with others in the Lord. Amen
Fr. John Peter