No Prayer for the World

Daily Reading: 1 Chronicles 10, 11; John 17

“I ask on their behalf; I do not ask on behalf of the world, but of those whom You have given Me; for they are Yours; (John 17:9, NASB95)

Jesus doesn’t pray for the world, but only for those who are His or will be His (Jn. 17:20; see Jn. 14:30; 15:18-21; 16:3; 17:14). Why doesn’t He pray for the world? Why does He only pray for those who are His?

  • God loves the world (Jn. 3:16), but people cannot stay in the world if they will be saved. Rather than redeeming the world, Jesus calls people to be separate from the world. Köstenberger (2004) explains, “The only prayer for the world could be for it to desist from its hostility to God and Jesus his Son and for it to cease being “the world” in the Johannine sense of the term” (p. 492).
  • The ruler of this world is the devil, and Jesus’ prayer is for those who would be delivered from his reign.
  • Those who respond and come to Jesus reveal themselves to be His.
  • His people are not of the world, just as He is not of the world (Jn. 17:14, 16).
  • Jesus’ prayer is not that God would take His people out of the world, but that He would preserve them in it (Jn. 17:15, 17). It is God’s will and purpose that keeps His people separate and distinct from the world. Just as the Father sent Jesus into the world, so Jesus sends His people into the world in order that others would believe through their word (Jn. 17:18).

Our prayers should conform to His. Has Jesus sent you into the world that others will receive His word through you? Are you praying for God’s will, that you would be His salt and light in the world?

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