Work IS Prayer
This morning I was reading John 17:1-26. I’ve probably read it hundreds of times in my life. It’s basically Jesus’ farewell prayer at the last supper. He knows He’s about to die, and He’s praying to the Father before that grand departure. In a way, it’s kind of His victory speech. If He was Dora the Explorer this is the end of the show where the music cues and He sings, “We did it!” (His version would ring, “I did it!” of course.) While on earth, He did what the Father asked of Him to do.
At first glance, it seems strange that He is praying this now, at the last supper, BEFORE the crucifixion. Because isn’t THAT what He was sent to earth for? Yes, of course. But here, Jesus gives us a glimpse of SOOOO much more info surrounding His mission. This was especially powerful for me this morning.
This morning I was praying for my kids. Things have been a little crazy lately. Ok... not “a little” crazy. A LOT crazy. They’ve all have had these different appointments and events and college tours etc. Big things. Important things.
I’ve had to adjust my schedule and work late to catch up as a result. This morning I was thinking about how tired I am. I was also thinking about how grateful I am. God is working mightily right now in our lives. He’s leading us to healing and provision and purpose. It’s been amazing.
I was also feeling guilty, though, because my prayer life has suffered a lot the last few days. I fell asleep praying last night - I think right at the beginning. 🤦🏻♀️ And that was my first real attempt in a couple of days. But while reading Jesus’ victory and departure prayer, I was struck by something: the simplicity of His “mission.”
When Jesus says, “I did it!” in these passages, He is not referring to big, gigantic miracles. He doesn’t say “I raised Lazarus” or “I turned water to wine.”
He says, “I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do.” He doesn’t identify “which” work glorified God, because it doesn’t matter. It was the act of working... simply doing the tasks that God the Father laid out for Him that day—be it performing miracles, doing carpentry work, or washing feet. It ALL glorified God because He did it FOR God, in obedience to God.
This brought me comfort this morning because our work does the same—be it our desk job, running kids to and fro, or scrubbing the bathroom. It too glorifies God If we do it for God, in obedience to God.
Jesus also says, “I manifested your name to the people whom you gave me...” He says, “ l have given them your Word.” He didn’t say I preached in the synagogues. He said simply, “I gave them your word” ...yes, meaning in the temple and on the mountain tops, but also by campfires, on boats, in homes, and at the well. He gave them God’s Word privately and singularly, too.
Likewise we, too, can manifest His Name and give His word on a large scale, or small scale—to our kids, our coworkers, our friends. It could be in big venues, yes, but oftentimes He calls us to small circles.
Jesus also says, “As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.” This one right here got me HARD this morning—the day after yet another college tour with my daughter. As parents, we too are sending our kids out into the world. This is something Jesus included in his “I did it!” victory prayer because He wants us to know how important it is.
We don’t just do our work, and raise them, and give them His Word... and then keep them under our wing forever. No. We do all of that in order to prepare them for the day when we send them out. This is how we follow Him.
Oh how this blessed me this morning!!!
In these Scriptures, I could hear God reassuring me that it’s okay. He whispered simply and sweetly, “Just stay in My Will.” In other words, keep glorifying God by your work. Keep giving them My Word. Keep preparing them to go out in the world.
Yes, prayer is important. It is VERY important. But sometimes our work IS our prayer. Even Jesus recognized this. He did not come to earth to just sit on a mountaintop and pray the entire time. He did not spend all of his days in the temple. No. He served, He worked, AND He prayed.
We, too, have to do each of these things. And there are seasons in life when we feel like we do more of one thing than another. There are even seasons when we just need some sleep! But that’s ok. So did Jesus. He slept on a boat, in a storm when the apostles thought they were dying. (Mt. 8:23-27) 😂
I don’t know... I just wanted to share this in case any of you guys were also feeling the pinch of busyness right now. Keep doing what you are doing, friend. Keep working hard, loving your family, loving each other, and spreading the Gospel in your little circle. And someday, at your departure, you’ll get to sing the “I did it!” song too. ❤️
Peace to all.