Prayer that Wants What God Wants

John 17:1-5

Jerry A. Collins




What the meaning to glorify God       

How did Jesus glorify His Father?

Why did Jesus pray for Himself?


So much of our praying is simply praying that is misguided or self-centered or ignorant. Praying for what it is God wants is praying that is effective and impacting. Jesus prayers were prayers for what God wanted. So let’s study one of these prayers and discern how our praying can be aligned with God’s desires and expectations. Much healthier prayers and robust prayer life will result. This passage has been described as the ‘holy of holies’ of the NT. First, it is the longest recorded prayer of Christ. It opens a window into Jesus most intimate concerns and thoughts. Second, it is a prayer for Himself that He may be glorified, for His disciples to be protected and sanctified and that the church might be unified. Four times in this section the word glorified is used. It means to manifest and display something about someone that may have been hidden or unknown. Today we would advertise. Jesus prayer is for the hidden or unknown virtues and qualities of God to be advertised. That the character, wisdom, beauty, plan, and resources of God be manifested that has been previously hidden or unknown. Whatever we do whether we eat or drink to all to the glory of God. Jesus is concerned about God’s glory. So, too, our praying should be concerned.


VS 1 Lifting His eyes Jesus also did this before His prayer in 11:41. Possibly a common posture in prayer: according to the parable in  Lk 18:13 the tax collector did not feel himself worthy to do this.

Hour has come Jesus said this in 12:23 and 13:1. Best to understand the ‘hour’ as period of time starting at the end of Jesus’ public ministry extending thru the passion week. Then ending with Jesus’ return to the Father thru death, resurrection, and exaltation. The ‘hour’ begins as soon as the 1st events occur which begin the process that leads to Jesus’ death. So the cross with its agony, blood, grief, and loneliness he is asking will glorify both He and the Father—that by means of the cross something hidden to the world will be advertised.

Glorify the Son In 13:31-32 Jesus had said ‘now the Son of Man is glorified…’ Now He prays for this to be carried out so that the Son glorifies the Father. The glorification of the Son and the Father are closely related. Jesus’ own glorification is not an end in itself—even this is to the greater glory of the Father, as is everything the Son does. In a perfect relationship each member would be glorifying the other. Suppose you introduced your spouse, son or daughter, friend, by saying This is my beloved wife or son in whom I am well-pleased. Of course we would not say it like that but what if that is what we actually communicated to those around us? Jesus requests of the Father that the Father glorify Himself. Notice, it is all about the glory of God. If you think you need glory too, then you are off the pages of God’s book. God is opposed to the proud and gives grace to the humble. Humility is where you understand that profit comes from God—eternal rewards. Pride is where you understand that profit comes from your work.

 VS 2 Jesus given authority This authority probably refers to the authority of a judge cf 5:27 since the phrase makes it clear that Jesus does not give eternal life to everyone indiscriminately, but only to those whom the Father has given him.  (1) that God has given Him power over all flesh. By means of the cross Jesus has the right to be Sovereign over all the nations and people of the earth. Jesus is Lord whether men know it or not. (2) that He will gain the right to give eternal life to all whom the Father brings Him. Because of the cross only Jesus can give eternal life. There is no eternal life without Jesus because His sacrifice was the only possible remedy for our sin. Jesus gives eternal life only to those whom the Father has given Him. 5 times Jesus refers to His own the Father gave Him. Eternal life is knowing God thru His Son who has revealed the Father in His life and teaching. This knowledge is intimate and personal.

VS 3 Eternal life Here is the definition of eternal life. It is not just an unending life in the sense of prolonged duration. Rather it is a quality of life derived from a relationship with God. Some will know God much better than others and  the  quality of that relationship and their eternal life will differ. Jesus has fully revealed what God is like—Jn 10:10 He has come that people may have life, and have it abundantly. The only way to obtain this eternal life, that is, to obtain this knowledge of the Father, is thru the Son. So praying for people to believe in the Father Jesus revealed is a prayer consistent with what it is God wants.




VS 4 I glorified you Jesus states that he has glorified the Father on earth by completing the work given to him. The idea of Jesus being sent on a mission stated before in 3:17. The completion of this work mentioned in 4:34, 5:36. What is the nature of the ‘work’ the Father has given the Son to accomplish? Jesus mission to be the Savior of the world. But this is accomplished thru his sacrificial death given by the Father 3:16. So Jesus can speak as if that work is already accomplished since the ‘hour’ has already come and his departure is at hand. 

Vs 5 And now In 17:1 Jesus prays for the Father to glorify him. Now he repeats the request and defines the glory for which he prays more specifically as the glory which he had with the Father before the world existed. This verse strongly asserts the preexistence of Christ. This is the perfect goal for the end of our life. I glorified you on the earth having accomplished the work you gave me to do. When Jesus said on the cross, ‘it is finished’ it meant the payment for our sin was complete but it also meant that He finished the work God gave Him to do; that is, glorifying God on earth and discipling the 12 to start the church.

Glorify me An indication of the eternality of Christ. He asks to be returned to the state of glory which He had with God the Father before Jesus came to the earth.


1. Jesus saw discipleship as manifesting or making known the name or character of God the Father. Discipleship was not relating some religious laws or ceremonies but revealing the heart of God. So I should see discipleship as: making known the character of God, to those who belong to God, in such a way that they keep the Word of God.

2. Eternal life begins with knowledge of God the Father and God the Son. This alone is the first step toward eternal life with God. It is knowledge to understanding to faith, then more knowledge etc.

3. Living and praying as Jesus did means being determined to fulfill the will of God for my life as a man, husband, father, worker, student, teacher, discipler. I want to accomplish all of the will of God all the way to the end of my life.

4. There is only one true God not many gods and many options to choose from. Making that clear is the will of God for us.