In the gospel of John, just before Jesus was arrested, he spent some pretty important time with his disciples. He washed their feet, taught them some critical truths, and even did some Q&A. Then he did what seems like standard operating procedure, he wrapped the time up by closing in prayer.
But I want to point out something that got my attention here. Jesus was hanging with his disciples and then went in to one-on-one personal prayer time aloud with his Father. It was a very purposeful, intentional, and intimate time with his disciples right there. It wasn’t just to serve as a nice transition from the teaching time to the trip to olive garden. It was on purpose. And although it was very personal, it wasn’t private. He was pouring out his heart to his Father and asking him to do some specific things. He was praying for himself, for his disciples, and for those that would come to believe and follow him in the future. He intentionally let his disciples into his most personal space. He wanted them to hear and experience his intimate time with his Father.
But I don’t think the presence of the disciples in that inner sanctuary altered Jesus’ approach, passion, or authenticity. He let the disciples experience the real deal, not a performance, or even revised version of it. Although he let the disciples in on purpose, it didn’t change the primary purpose of what he was doing, which was to communicate authentically with his Father. He didn’t let the fact that he had an audience, or who his audience was, change much if anything about his prayer. I think it’s good to be aware of our audience, and to even be relevant. But I think at times we can be so aware of and try and be so relevant to those we’ve welcomed that we’re no longer doing the very thing we’re wanting them to experience. And so then their learning and growth is limited or off base, and then we’ve thwarted our very purpose.
So, what am I trying to say here? I guess I’m trying to share that we definitely need those private times with just us and the Father where we’re praying for ourselves, those we’re called to lead, and others. Those are essential and important times. But, I think we also need to make sure we have some of those same personal and intimate conversations where we let our children, our spouse, and those we are investing in, join us. I think Jesus is our example here. Think about how crucial this experience was for the disciples to hear him praying for himself and then for them and for those who would hear because of their obedience going forward. Think about how meaningful and critical this prayer is to us now that read it. The only reason we get to experience it is because Jesus purposefully prayed out loud so his disciples could hear it, absorb it, and write it down.
I think those we are called to lead need that same opportunity. They need to find themselves in the presence of you humbling yourself before God. Talking with Him. Asking Him to do some things according to his will. You thanking Him from the bottom of your heart for his grace, provision, and blessing. And I think it’s important to not let our prayers change too much based on those that are hearing. I’ve got to imagine that this wasn’t the first time that Jesus talked to the Father about these things, the only difference was that he intentionally made it public on purpose.