I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. (John 17:15—NKJV)

John chapter 17 is the closest thing to knowing how your Lord intercedes for you today. How do you know He is interceding for you? Hebrews 7:24–25 states, “But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood. Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.” Do not doubt the efficacy of a praying Savior!

Just in case you may be thinking that Jesus’ “High-Priestly Prayer” of John 17 was only for the disciples and does not extend to you, be sure to notice that our Lord clarifies for whom He is praying. John 17:20, just five verses after our verse, reads, “I do not pray for these (the disciples) alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” Certainly, the disciples needed His special attention in the beginning of the church age, for the enemies would be legion and the workers would be few. It was imperative that the disciples be effectively prepared and effectively used in the recording of God’s Word, the Bible. But, rest assured, you were in His mind and included as He prayed on that eve of His crucifixion.

It is interesting that our Lord’s intercession does not take the easy route by removing His children from the world. A number of times in the context He states that believers are on a mission of service to God. Removal would thwart that service. Instead, believers are to be in the world but not of it, just as He was (verse 14 and again in verse 16). Believers are left in the arena where service for God is possible, and that will invite into the arena of life interference and outrage from the evil one.

Who is this evil one? Certainly it is Satan, our adversary, the Devil. We are first introduced to him in the Garden of Eden taking on the form of a serpent. This same description is used in the close of the canon of Scripture in both Revelation 12:9 and 20:2 when his doom is settling in upon his head. Serpents are reptiles, opportunists with cold calculations, cold eyes, cold hearts, and not to be reasoned with—an apt description of the personality of Satan as it is revealed in the Scriptures. You need look no further than his advances to destroy Job. He hates God with a foaming jealousy and therefore hates anything that God has made, especially that which bears God’s image—mankind, and most especially, those who would honor God with their lives. There has been no servant of Satan who has been well used in the end, or well rewarded. Most assuredly none will come to a happy ending (Revelation 20:11–15).

Satan is described as subtle (Genesis 3:1, 2 Corinthians 3:11), wicked (1 John 2:13), deceitful (2 Corinthians 11:14, Ephesians 6:11), cruel, and fearless (1 Peter 5:8). The only hope of overcoming him is what we are told in 1 John 4:4, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world;” and in 1 John 5:4–5, “For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith. Who is he who overcomes the world, but he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?”

Though Satan loses you to his cause, authority, and ownership upon your salvation, he is still a very potent adversary. He hinders believers (1 Thessalonians 2:18), his business is to promote sin (1 John 3:8), and his persona is described in 1 Peter 5:8–9, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (literally, drink down). Resist him, steadfast in the faith (do not give ground), knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” Peter knew firsthand the intercessory efficacy of Christ for he heard from Jesus Himself the words of Luke 22:31–32, “Simon, Simon! Indeed, Satan has asked for you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith should not fail; and when you have returned to Me, strengthen your brethren.” What an insight into the very great heart of the Shepherd of your soul! What a great blessing to have the Intercessor at work!

Though Satan is finite and localized, and may be more concerned with “bigger fish to fry” than you, do not forget that every member of his host takes after their spiritual father. They all have his traits. Put on the whole armor of God, trust only in Him, and be thankful for an interceding Savior. Trust and obey.