Jesus’ Priestly Prayer

Read Together: John 17:20–26

Essential to learning to pray is learning to intercede for one another. As Pastor Jerry reminded us on Sunday, all believers are called to a ministry of intercession—lifting up each other in prayer. Intercession is coming before God on behalf of someone else and asking God to meet their needs. Jesus himself gives us a prime example of intercession in his high priestly prayer recorded in John 17.

Notice three key elements of Jesus’ intercessory prayer. First, the foundation of Jesus’ prayer is a concern for the glory of God (17:1). Second, the heart of Jesus’ prayer for the church is that they would share a deep unity, rooted in their faith in Jesus (17:11, 21–23). Third, part of the purpose of this prayer is that the world might believe in Jesus through the unified witness of the church.

Jesus’ intercessory prayer is an example of the kind of central requests that should fill our own prayers for each other. However, Jesus’ prayer is so much more than an example to us. First and foremost, it is a prayer for us. Jesus is the great high priest of God’s people who even now continues to intercede for his church (Rom 8:34; Heb 7:25).

When it comes to prayer, we all feel that we often come up short. Our prayers may drift into shallow selfishness. Busyness may drive us away from prayer instead of to prayer. Prosperity may produce prayerlessness. But may this feeling of inadequacy in prayer continually drive us back to Christ. He lived the perfect life that we fail to live. His death brings forgiveness for our failure to pray. And in his resurrection and ascension, he continues to intercede for you.  

Discussion Questions

  1. What is intercession and why is it an important element of prayer?
  2. What do we learn about intercessory prayer from Jesus’ prayer in John 17?
  3. How should the truth that Jesus continues to intercede for believers encourage us today?

Ideas for Younger Kids

·      Read John 17:20–26 with your children. Talk about how this passage of Scripture is a prayer that Jesus prayed for us. Jesus prays for believers. This is part of his ministry as our High Priest. Priests in the Old Testament were those who stood in between God and the rest of the people and offered sacrifices to God. Jesus is the better Priest who offered his life as a sacrifice for us and continues to pray for his people. He stands between God and us so that we might know God and be made right with God. And even now Jesus prays for us.

·      Consider learning the following catechism question with your children about Jesus as our High Priest. (This is Question 59 from A Catechism for Boys and Girls).

o   Q. Why is Christ a priest?

o   A. Because He died for our sins and prays to God for us.

Memorization: “Consequently, he is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them.” (Hebrews 7:25)

Song: Listen to “Before the Throne of God Above” (Sovereign Grace Music, feat. Kristyn Getty).

Pray Together

  • Praise God that he sent his Son to be our great High Priest.
  • Confess before God that our prayers often drift into shallow selfishness.
  • Give thanks to God that Jesus always lives to make intercession for his people (Heb 7:25) and that he shows us a better way to pray.
  • Pray that God would help us grow in the ministry of intercession, that we would daily lift up the needs of others for the glory of God, the unity of the church, and the reaching of the lost.

Go Together

  • Commit together to the ministry of interceding for others. Make it a daily discipline to pray for others. Take advantage of opportunities like our church’s prayer line ministry, prayer team ministry, and our weekly prayer gathering and resources like our missions prayer journal,, and 
If you have any questions, comments, or ideas related to this Family Faith Talk guide or future guides, please let us know by leaving a comment!

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