Prayer is the act of communicating with God. We know that prayer was a big part of Jesus’ life while He was on earth (Luke 6:12; Mark 14:32; Matthew 26:36). He spent considerable time alone with His Father. Most of the time, what He prayed about we can only speculate on; however, a few places in the New Testament tell us exactly what He prayed for. In Matthew 19:13, He prayed for little children. In Luke 22:32, He tells us that He prayed for Peter’s faith to remain strong. And in John 17, Jesus’ High Priestly Prayer, He prayed for His followers and “for those who will believe in me through their message” (verse 20). That’s us! Now that Jesus has ascended back into heaven, He still prays for us. His ministry on our behalf continues (Hebrews 7:25).
Jesus is our “Advocate with the Father” (1 John 2:1). An advocate is one who pleads a case for another. Advocates stand in the place of those who cannot speak for themselves. Jesus, as our Advocate, stands in our place before the Father and pleads on our behalf. Jesus’ advocacy is sure to be effectual, because He is the one of whom the Father said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). Jesus’ prayers for us are constant, and they are perfect.
We have an Advocate in Christ, but we also have an accuser: Satan, who accuses us night and day (Revelation 12:10; Zechariah 3:1). Our mortal enemy broadcasts our sins before God, mocking and insulting the ones Jesus bought for His own. But Romans 8:33–34 says we need not worry about Satan’s malice because Jesus, our Advocate, is more powerful: “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”
In John 17, Jesus prays for His followers, and from that prayer we can learn the kinds of things Jesus might be praying for us now. Jesus prays for us that we would do and be these things:
• Know God and His Son, Jesus Christ (verse 3)
• Be protected from apostasy (verse 11)
• Be one in spirit as the Father and Son are one (verse 11)
• Be filled with His joy (verse 13)
• Be kept from the evil one (verse 15)
• Be sanctified through God’s Word (verse 17)
• Remain unified in Christ throughout the generations (verses 20–21)
• Let our love convey Christ’s message to the world (verse 23)
• Join Him in heaven for all eternity (verse 24)
• Experience the same kind of love for each other that the Father and Son share (verse 26)
Hebrews 4:14–16 describes Jesus as our great High Priest. Because of His intercession for us, we have access to the Father ourselves: “Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” Despite what we may face in this life, we can live with the confident assurance that, if we belong to Jesus, He is always praying for us.