Sermons 2009
Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19

Home | Proper 17B, 30 August 2009, Mark 7:1-8, 14-15, 21-23 | Proper 16B, 23 August 2009, John 6:56-69 | Pentecost 10 (Proper 14B) 9 August 2009, John 6:35, 41-51 | Pentecost 8B (Proper 12B), John 6:1-21, 26 July 2009 | Pentecost 7B (Proper 11B), 19 July 2009, Mark 6:30-34, 53-56 | Pentecost 6B (Proper 10B), 12 July 2009, Mark 6:14-29 | Pentecost 5B (Proper 9B) 5 July 2009, Mark 6:1-13 | Pentecost 4B (Proper 8B), 28 June 2009 | Pentecost 3B (Proper 7B), 21 June 2009 | Pentecost 2B (Proper 6B), 14 June 2009 | About Pentecost, Pentecost B, 31 May 2009, | On the Trinity, Trinity B, 7 June 2009 | Jesus and Prayer, Easter 7B, 24 May 2009, John 17:6-19 | How can we love? Easter 6B, 17May 2009, John 15:9-17 | 2 Sermons: Vineyard and a Baptism, Easter 5B, 10 May 2009, John 15:1-8 | Who's in? Who's out? Easter 4B, 3 May 2009, John 10:11-18 | Sacramental Meals, Easter 3B, 16 April 2009, Luke 24:36b-48 | Resurrection, continued, Doubts, and a Baptism, Easter 2 B, 19 April 2009, John 20:19-31 | He is not here, Easter B, 12 April 2009, Mark 16:1-8 | The Seven Sayings from the Cross, Palm Sunday B 2009 | We wish to see Jesus, Lent 5B, 29 March 1009, John 12:22-33 | For God so loved the world, Lent 4B, 22 March 2009, John 3:14-21 | Out with the money changers! Lent 3B, 15 March 2009, John 2: 13-22 | On taking up the Cross, Lent 2B, 8 March 2009, Mark 8:31-38 | News or the real Good News?, Lent 1B, 1 March 2008, Mark 1: 9-15 | Listen to Him! Epiphany Last B Transfiguration, 22 February 2009, Mark 9:2-9 | What do you mean, demons? Epiphany 4B, 1 February 2009, Mark 1:21-28 | Immediately and discipleship, Epiphany 3B 2009, 25 January 2009, Mark 1:14-20 | Right in front of your eyes, Epiphany 2B, 18 January 2009, John 1:43-51 | In the beginning, water and the Spirit, Epiphany 1B, 11 January 2009, Genesis 1:1-5; Mark 1:4-11 | In God we trust, Christmas 2B, 4 January 2009, Jeremiah 31:7-14; Matthew 2:1-12

Easter 7B 2009                                                      John 17:9-16

Jesus taught us how to pray and in the gospels there are four major examples of the prayers the Jesus himself prayed.

The Lord’s Prayer is the most familiar and most used.  We pray the Lord’s prayer in every service in our Book of Common Prayer.  The burial office provides for it to be said twice on occasion.  The Lord’s Prayer is perhaps too familiar.  Sometimes we drone away at it in rote fashion – and sometimes we find ourselves at an abrupt stop because, not having paid attention to what we were saying, we lose our place and can’t remember what to say next.

There was a man on a retreat once who found himself chafing at an hour of required silent prayer.  He had already prayed for everything he could think of in the first five minutes and had said the Lord’s Prayer twice.  “Oh well,” he thought, “I’ll say it again only this time very slowly to help the time go by.”  And as he did, he began to hear, really hear, the words as they passed through his mind.  They seemed new – richer – fuller.  So he started again.  And this time he began adding his own thoughts and images to the once too familiar phrases of the great prayer.  Before he knew it, the hour was over and he had only gotten to the end of struggling with, visualizing, interpolating, “thy will be done”.  To this point it was a prayer of adoration of the God who loves us.

The second prayer that comes to mind is Jesus’ prayer in the garden of Gethsemane.  Here Saint Luke:  “Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me…” the rawest most desperate kind of prayer of petition for one’s self, the kind of prayer of petition we all recognize from our own rawest, desperate, dark hours.  But then it ends on a different note:  “…nevertheless, not my will, but thine, be done.”  Ending with a prayer of oblation.

And then there is the great prayer of intercession from the Cross as Jesus was drawing his last breaths:  “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. A prayer of intercession does not get more selfless than that.

Our gospel today comes in the middle of what has been known since the 2d Centry AD as Jesus’ high priestly prayer.  Archbishop of Canterbury William Temple declared that this chapter is the most sacred passage in the four gospels, calling it the record of the Lord’s prayer of self dedication as it lived in the memory and imagination of his most intimate friend, John.  (1)

The first third is Jesus prayer for himself, that he might be glorified in the crucifixion that awaits him as a result of his perfect obedience to the will of God the Father -- that he may thus glorify the Father, really more adoration and oblation than intercession.

The second third, today’s lesson, is Jesus’ prayer for his disciples, who are left in the world after his ascension.  Mostly intercession, but with undertones of oblation

The last third is Jesus prayer for the church universal and that believers may be indwelt by the Father and the Son and express their unity in love, thus fulfilling the missionary purpose of the church in the world.   A combination of adoration, oblation, and intercession.  (2)

About the section in our gospel for today, on commentator had this to say:  Confronted with various threats to our lives and well-being, our common recourse is to pray.  We pray not only for ourselves but also for our loved ones, other people and the earth. Intercessory prayer is a regular practice among faith communities.  Prayer is certainly central to Jesus.  At the heart of our lectionary reading is Jesus’ prayer.  His prayer is deeply theological and concretely practical; it is deeply personal and intimately relational.  A closer reading of Jesus’ prayer reveals an intrinsic coherence between Jesus’ relationship to and view of God and his hopes for his followers.  It reveals his intimate relationship with and understanding of God, which in turn is a mirror of our relationship with one another, with Jesus and with God.  As intimately one and in accord with God, Jesus petitions God for his followers to share that similar experience among each other and in relation to God.”  (3)

            Despite this being the Easter season our gospel passage itself is set in the background of Jesus’ impending death.  Although this seems to be in the wrong place in the church calendar, but it serves to remind us that in our daily living, we experience Easter resurrections despite various forms of deaths and crucifixions.   Christians look forward not only to our great resurrection but also to the little resurrections  around us even when our lives seem consumed by chaos and sadness in a world threatened and tyrannized by destruction.  When crucifixions are ordinary, when society is beset by chaos and confusion, and when psychic numbing has engulfed the land, that is when we must look hardest to see the power of the risen Christ. (4)

Now please turn to page 856 in the Book of Common Prayer to recite the Catechism on Prayer and Worship:

 Q.    What is prayer?

A.     Prayer is responding to God, by thought and by deeds,        with or without words.


Q.    What is Christian Prayer?

A.     Christian prayer is response to God the Father, through Jesus Christ, in the power of the Holy Spirit.


Q.    What prayer did Christ teach us?

A.     Our Lord gave us the example of prayer known as

         the Lord’s Prayer.  


Q.    What are the principal kinds of prayer?

A.     The principal kinds of prayer are adoration, praise,

         thanksgiving, penitence, oblation, intercession, and



Q.    What is adoration?

A.     Adoration is the lifting up of the heart and mind to God, asking nothing but to enjoy God’s presence.


Q.    Why do we praise God?

A.     We praise God, not to obtain anything, but because

         God’s Being draws praise from us.


Q.    For what do we offer thanksgiving?

A.     Thanksgiving is offered to God for all the blessings of            this life, for our redemption, and for whatever draws us closer to God.


Q.    What is penitence?

A.     In penitence, we confess our sins and make restitution where possible, with the intention to amend our lives.


Q.    What is prayer of oblation?

A.     Oblation is an offering of ourselves, our lives and

         labors, in union with Christ, for the purposes of God.


Q.    What are intercession and petition?

A.     Intercession brings before God the needs of others; in          petition, we present our own needs, that God’s will may be done.


Q.    What is corporate worship?

A.     In corporate worship, we unite ourselves with others to acknowledge the holiness of God, to hear God’s Word, to offer prayer, and to celebrate the sacraments.




1.  William Temple, Readings in St. John’s Gospel, p 293

2. The New Oxford Annotated Bible, annotations for John 17:1-26

3.  Eleazar S. Fernandez, Theological Themes, John 17: 6-19, good

4.  adapted from Ibid.