Today I read John 17, also known as the great intercessory prayer. This chapter is a prayer that Jesus offers up to the Father. It is interesting to me that so many religions only recite the Lord's Prayer when they want to pray and that is all, although I think these days it is becoming increasingly such that they recite the Lords prayer first and then go on to offer up a prayer. However, you will notice that in this prayer Jesus does not recite the example prayer that He gave years before that we all refer to as the Lord's prayer. I have often wondered why some people latched on to the Lord's prayer like that. I mean it is just an example of a good prayer and a good type of prayer to give.
I personally think this is a much better example of how our prayers should be than the Lord's prayer. I mean this is Jesus praying to His Father. We see His joy in His Apostles and His desires for them. We see the Savior talking to the Father as if His Father were present, exactly how we should be talking to Him. We should speak to Him as if when we are kneeling down we are kneeling at His feet and speaking to Him. Now, we should of course show proper reverence and humility for the God in our prayers and our dealings with Him, but we should also feel able to speak to Him as we would to our earthly father.
Early in the prayer Jesus mentions that life eternal is to know God. And truly it is, because as we have talked about in the past, eternal life is life with God. How can we know that is what we want if we don't know God? How can we be sure that life with Him for eternity is the kind of life we want to have? The only way we can know that for certain is if we understand His qualities and what He does. In order to understand that, we need to live the kind of life He lives. He has given us the qualities He possesses in the form of the commandments. God does not lie, He does not steal, He does not commit adultery, He does not blaspheme, He honors His father and mother and so forth. We are all making our choice each and every day by the type of life we choose to live. If we struggle with living the commandments but we are supplicating our Father to help us so that we enjoy living the Gospel more, then we are on the right path. If we instead are holding onto our favorite sin, or just going through the motions of a righteous and worthy life, then that is a problem. But God loves us enough to let us choose what we want. It is quite sad and a little disgusting how comfortable the vast majority of people are with the world today and it is clear that they enjoy a telestial life. But I strive for something more. I enjoy living the commandments and while I have a few that haunt me, I am striving each and every day to get better and to live them a little more perfectly.
We have talked about this quite extensively in the past and the rest of the chapter goes on as the Savior prays for the Father to strengthen and uplift His Apostles as well as those who believe on their preaching. It really amazes me the love and concern the Savior is showing for His Apostles at this, His most difficult hour, the entire reason for His mortal life. But, then again, charity and service to others, are the best way to overcome depression and sad feelings. So perhaps this is actually helping Him prepare for the rest of the night and next day. I guess we'll know one day when we see Him and can ask. But regardless of all else, Jesus has given us yet again a perfect example, this time of prayer and how our relationship with our Father in Heaven can be. It is a relationship I want and strive to cultivate. Maybe one day I'll get there. Until tomorrow.