“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” John 17:6–26

Human nature is a rather constant thing. Left to ourselves, as if in a vacuum, we would have no redeeming qualities. Mankind is a fallen race; the sin nature will run rampant when constraints of conscience, law, and personal society are absent. This is one constant that must be factored in as a man comes of age, if he seeks to make sense of the world and of himself.

In light of the reality of sinful mankind, the believer must constantly give praise for any good that is evident in the world. Believers ought to give thanks to God for good families, churches, neighbors, government, and good friends because these things all come from the gracious hand of the living God (James 1:17f). Good is defined as God declares it, and as He grants it, because He is good (Psalm 136:1).

Because of our sin nature, it is difficult for any man to fully assess what is for his own good, to say nothing of what is best. It is hard work to rise above the immediate felt need and grasp after long-term, hard-won abilities that fill our felt need. For most people, their desire is for God to send a “need-meeter” rather than a “need-remover.” This situation is never more evident than when disciplined people try to aid an undisciplined person. The undisciplined person would rather have the hurt go away than to be motivated by the hurt to grow strong and overcome.

In the spiritual realm the story is much the same. Prayer requests are often formulated to meet needs rather than to pursue God for need removal by growing strong in the faith. An illustration of this truth can be seen in our Lord’s high priestly prayer found in John 17. Here we are granted insight into how Jesus intercedes for us. We know that intercession is His major occupation while we journey through our life from earth to glory (Hebrews 7:25).

Have you ever wished you could place in His capable hands your personal prayer list so that He might intercede before His Father exactly what you wish, pressing His Father to be your need-meeter? Would you hope He would petition the Father to remove your depression, jealousy, bitterness, bad memories, bad habits, temptations, sorrow, pain, or make your pressing needs vanish? Would you scribble down the request that God grant you a changed past, rescue, healing, courage, or wealth? These needs all find their solution in Scripture but overcoming them is hard. Consequently, these problems are usually the subjects of our daily prayers.

But such requests are generally not in accord with the need-remover which we have in God, the One who would have us grow strong (Ephesians 4:12–16) and sturdy (Ephesians 6:10) in the faith. Contrary to our fallen nature, our Savior acts in concert with His Father in interceding for us. We know this as we read His prayer offered up in our behalf in John 17.

There are seven topics of our Savior’s prayer requests revealed to us in John 17. The first is the need-remover of security in God. John 17:11 reads, “…Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are.” Through His intercession we are guarded securely in His very character and by His restraint. When you are secure in faith, fealty, and future you can have your needs of courage, spiritual health, and confidence met.

We have the need-remover of deep-seated joy in God. John 17:13 reads, “…that they may have My joy fulfilled in themselves.” This is an overcoming, quiet, inexhaustible source of joy for a believer that meets your need of healing bad memories, history, and bitterness.

We have the need-remover of holiness, being set apart for God’s purposes. John 17:17ff reads, “Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth….” Purposelessness, temptation, and self-centeredness is resoundingly silenced by this simple intercessory prayer.

We have the need-remover of resources to make a real difference in this world provided in God’s Word. John 17:20 tells you how to be a blessing to others: “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word.” Our Savior intercedes so that you may be a conduit of His blessings in truth.

We have the need-remover of oneness of spirit. John 17:21ff reads, “That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You….” This is not organic unity or union, but oneness of spirit found in common with all saints. Christians find their identity in Christ and their rightful place among the saints.

We have the need-remover of true godliness, standing in awe of God. John 17:22ff reads, “…that they may behold [may keep on seeing] My glory which You have given Me….” To be captivated by His glory is the healing balm for all sorts of human foibles and spiritual ills!

Finally, we have the need-remover of possession of the Father’s love. John 17:26, “…that the love with which You love Me may be in them, and I in them.” Right there is the driving force of our Savior’s intercession for us! These petitions of our Savior more than supply our need for rescue, healing, courage and health. God is in the business of need-removing! Trust and obey.