The Son’s Answered Prayer

By Francis Frangipane

Jesus never experienced an unanswered prayer. Indeed, the very things Jesus prayed were those things He knew to be precisely the Father’s will. The Son could heal or raise the dead or supernaturally feed multitudes because in prayer He understood what the Father intended. Jesus knew absolutely that nothing was impossible for God.

Thus, on the night before He died, the most somber night in Jesus’ life, the Lord brought His most lofty request to God: He prayed for oneness in His church. Christ’s prayer was both visionary and practical considering that on this same evening an argument arose among His disciples as to which of them was the greatest (Luke 22:24). In spite of their immaturity, selfish ambitions and envy, Jesus harbored no second thoughts or unbelief when He prayed that they may all be one.

Just as the Son of God prayed on their behalf, be assured He is praying for us now. Jesus is the same “yesterday and today and forever” (Heb. 13:8). He will never lower His standards (John 12:48); He will not modify His promises (Matt. 24:35); His intercession will remain unfailing until we attain His goal for us in God (Rom. 8:34).

To know Christ is to know His heart toward His church. Look again at His relationship with His disciples that Passover night. If an observer compared the instructions of Christ with the responses of His disciples, he would have concluded that there was little real communication between them. Jesus presented His vision of a church motivated by His love and humility. In contrast, His disciples dwelt in carnal desires and weaknesses. Consider: while Jesus prayed they would be “perfected in unity” (John 17:23), the only unity the disciples knew that night was a common fear and a collective abandonment of Christ. Consider: Jesus told these soon-to-be leaders of the Jerusalem church that they would be known for their untiring, agape love. But that night Christ’s three closest friends could not remain awake with him even one hour while He agonized alone in prayer.

His disciples were deaf to His promises, blind to His sacrifice, and ignorant of His vision; they were without revelation, obedience or courage. Yet, in spite of themselves, Jesus promised these very men, “He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do” (John 14:12). How could they ever attain His works? They would do His works not because He had confidence in them, but because He was about to “go to the Father” (John 14:12b). There, at the awesome throne of God, Christ would stand on behalf of His church as a faithful high priest. Thus, the power that accompanied the early church on earth was a direct result of Christ’s ongoing intercession for them in Heaven.

The Beginning and the End
There have always existed two realms in the definition of the church. The first is the place of beginnings. Here in the first stages of spirituality, we see the calling of God mingling with human fears, sin and worldly ambitions. The second reality is the place of destination. This is the place of destiny, power and maturity that Jesus died to give us. It is the intercession of Christ on our behalf that carries us from beginning to end. Indeed, the shallow, immature level of the church has never stopped Christ from praying for its perfection. He could no sooner stop praying than cease being the Son of God. Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind.

Jesus has always known the frailty of His church. He knows that when we commit our lives to Him, it is not a commitment that says, “I will never sin again; I will always be good.” If we could keep such a resolution, we would not have needed Christ to save us. Our commitment to Him is an acknowledgment that we have come to the end of ourselves: we need a Savior.

Thus, having discovered no righteousness of our own within us, we have entrusted both our condition and our future to Him. Yes, we commit ourselves to obey Him, but we frequently fail. True, we pledge to study His word, but we barely understand it. We position ourselves to follow Him, but how often we wander and find ourselves lost! Our commitment is, in reality, an abandonment of ourselves into Christ’s keeping (Phil. 1:6). He who thinks otherwise has never come face-to-face with his need for God.

Yet, this abandonment to Christ is also the key to our power. By accepting the living reality of our dependency, Christ Himself becomes our sufficiency. He reveals that our union with Him is as branches; He is the vine (John 15). His sufficiency is faithful and unending. He promises, “In that day, a vineyard of wine, sing of it! I, the Lord, am its keeper; I water it every moment. So that no one will damage it, I guard it night and day” (Isa. 27:2-3).

We must each discover the sustaining and renewing power that comes from complete dependency upon Christ. At this moment, He is praying for us. As you read my words, divine strength, healing, wisdom and virtue are being released through the intercession of Christ. He says, “If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14).

Human Need; Divine Commitment
Peter discovered Christ’s unchanging commitment. Though others might fail, Peter had boasted that he would remain steadfast. However, Jesus told His upstart disciple that within just a few hours he would deny His Lord three times. All the disciples failed, yet what was the Lord’s reaction? Did He chasten them? Did Jesus express His personal offense to Peter? No. Although there are times when Christ must rebuke us, Jesus prayed that Peter’s faith would continue and he would become a strength to his brothers (Luke 22:32).

Immediately after warning Peter of his impending denial, Jesus further comforted His disciples. He urges them, “Do not let your heart be troubled” (John 14:1). While this verse is suitable for calming any troubled heart, Jesus was speaking uniquely and compassionately to His disciples. Incredibly, it was Jesus, about to go to the cross, who comforted the disciples who were about to deny Him! Beloved, we do not truly know Christ until we have failed and find Him still our friend, drawn ever closer to us by our repentance and our need.

The Father’s Unchanging Purpose
What is true concerning Christ’s devotion to us as individuals is true concerning His commitment to a repentant citywide church as well. I am not saying that we should continue in sin that “grace might increase” (Rom. 6:1). No. But, when we sin, “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (1 John 2:1). Our failings have not disqualified us from God’s purposes. If we turn and trust Him again, we will find that the same Lord who requires we obey Him remained our Redeemer and Intercessor when we failed Him.

There are two things more enduring than the failings of the church. According to Scripture, these two things are “the unchangeableness of His purpose” and Christ’s role of priestly intercession for us (Heb. 6:17; 7:24). As a result, even though the church falls short, the purpose of God remains unchanging and the intercessions of Christ remain faithful. Because of these things, I am confident that I shall rise from my failures and find ever-unfolding Christlikeness in my life. Because of Jesus’ prayer, I believe we will see true New Testament unity in the people of God. Through Christ’s sacrifice, He is able “to save forever (lit: “to the uttermost”) those who draw near to God through Him” (Heb. 7:25).

The Lord’s disciples frequently carried the burden of wrong attitudes and aberrant concepts. Yet, in spite of their immaturity, Jesus unhesitantly prayed for the most holy of possibilities: that they would become the human abode for the Trinity of God (John 14:16-17, 23)! If we look to ourselves, we most certainly will always fail. When we place our expectation in the power released through Christ’s intercession, we can walk with confidence. It is our destiny to be transformed; it is God’s plan for the church to become one in Christ, and it is the foreknown plan of God for nations to come to the Savior. Beloved, if you believe in Christ, and believe He is the only begotten of the Father, then be assured concerning your personal needs: Jesus will have all His prayers answered.