A Message from Anne…
For the last few months I have parked myself in John 17, the prayer the disciples overheard Jesus praying the night He was betrayed. The truly stunning element to this prayer is that facing the horror of His arrest, trials, crucifixion, and death, as well as the subsequent fear, grief, and confusion that would overwhelm His disciples, Jesus prayed for them. And for me. And for you.
In John 17:9 Jesus says: “I pray for them”. While He was speaking specifically of His 11 disciples, we can apply His words to ourselves as followers of Jesus. So in this time of chaos, confusion, and fear; disease, death, and disasters, I have received enormous encouragement and hope from knowing that Jesus is praying for me. And for you. Wherever you may be, wrap your heart around the knowledge that Jesus is praying for you.
What is Jesus praying for? While He prayed for different things, there are three things that the Holy Spirit continually seems to whisper to my heart as we face this troubled and trying New Year.
First, Jesus is praying for our focus to remain fixed on our relationship with Him. He knows how easy it is for us to slip into focusing on our pain or problems or politics; on our health or home; on our circumstances or crisis; on our finances or family. He begins His prayer addressing the Almighty God of the Universe…the One associated with fire and lightning and thunder and awesome displays of power…as Father. While He is not equating God with your father or mine, He is emphasizing that you and I can have a personal relationship with God. The apostle Paul further confirms the personal relationship by saying we can call God, “Abba”1 …Daddy.
Jesus goes on to reveal that God has given Him authority to give us eternal life, which is not only opening Heaven for us when we die, which He does, praise God!…but Jesus has the authority to offer us an intimate relationship with God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit… right now. In verse three Jesus uses the word “know”, which is the same word used to describe an intimate relationship between a husband and wife. So in these troubled times stay focused on your relationship with God and His relationship with you. He loves you! He is your Father and you are His beloved child!
Secondly, Jesus prays that you and I would be faithful to His Word when He says, “I gave them the Word you have given Me, and they have received them.” Our faith does not rest on our circumstances or problems or what somebody has said or the opinions of others. It does not rest in our feelings, or our emotions, or in what’s swirling around us. It does not rest on what we can see, feel, taste, touch, or smell. Our faith is to be firmly fixed on the Word of God. This is a time to read the Bible. Every day. Then we need to apply it to our lives, live it out in obedience, and share what it says with others. In a rapidly changing world, the Word of God does not change. The Bible says that God’s Word is forever settled in Heaven.2 You can count on it. It’s trustworthy and true. God is a gentleman. You can take Him at His word. Let’s recommit to opening our Bibles, listening for His voice to speak to us through the pages.
Thirdly, Jesus prays for our future: “Father I want those You have given Me to be with Me where I am and to see My glory, the glory You have given Me because You loved Me before the creation of the world.” As our world personally, nationally, and globally seems to be falling apart, I long to see Jesus. I long for the world to see Him as He is — in glory and power. I long for Him to come back to rule in righteousness, justice, and peace. But at the end of this prayer, we discover that Jesus also has intense longings. He longs to come back. He longs to see us. He’s yearning to be with His followers. He is longing for us to see Him in His glory. Jesus promised in John 14:3: “I’m going to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again to receive you to Myself that where I am you may be also.” At any moment the sky is going to unfold. We’re going to hear the blast of the trumpet. Jesus Himself will descend with a loud shout, and those of us who are alive on earth are going to be caught up to live with Him forever in His heavenly home.3 On that day we’re going to see Him in His glory. We are going to see Him seated on the throne of Heaven surrounded by thousands upon thousands, ten thousand upon ten thousand, millions of angels. And down here where increasingly we’re not allowed to even say His name…down here where His name is blasphemed and profaned, denied and disputed…one day His name is going to resound throughout the universe. “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain to receive all power and wealth and strength and honor and glory and praise”4…and the whole universe will rock in acclamation of the name that’s above every name. At His name every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess He is Lord and He is King.5 And on that day when we’re surrounded by millions of angels and redeemed humanity and we’re worshipping the Lamb who sits on the throne, you are going to exclaim that everything you suffered here, everything you have gone through, is worth whatever the cost many times over, because He is worth it! And you are finally Home!
Facing betrayal, arrest, trials, torture, crucifixion and death, Jesus looked past the immediate suffering and humiliation to the glory that was to come. And He prays that you and I will do the same.
So in the New Year of 2021, stay focused on your relationship with Him, rest your faith firmly on His Word, and look forward to the future. The best is yet to come!
For His Glory,
One of the truly amazing results of the pandemic lockdown is that I have spoken to thousands more people by video than I ever would have in person. We estimate that thousands upon thousands have watched videos done for churches, conferences, conventions, and schools. Only Heaven knows the number of people who have made a commitment to Jesus as a result, but we praise God and give Him all the glory for His promise that His Word will not return void!
What a privilege God gave me to address military chaplains and their spouses at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove the week following Thanksgiving. With Christmas decorations in full view giving a wonderfully festive atmosphere, I shared that Jesus came 2000 years ago, went back to Heaven, and sent down His Holy Spirit to live in us. He is the One who strengthens, comforts, advises, empowers, and helps each of us to serve effectively. Many of those in the audience stood at the end of the message to recommit themselves to the Lordship of the Holy Spirit.
Due to Rachel-Ruth’s COVID diagnosis, she and I interacted on a split zoom screen from two different locations when she invited me to help her kick off her online Bible study for the New Year. She knows how Abraham has impacted me; and since her ladies were beginning to study his life, I had the joy of answering her questions. I was richly blessed as together we led those watching in an overview of an ordinary man who became extraordinary—one whom God called His friend.
Bible Study: Jesus Is Praying for You
Read John 17
Now, read John 17 again, this time asking the Holy Spirit to whisper to your heart as you answer the following questions about:
I. YOUR FOCUS John 17:1-5
- What time was it in Jesus’ life? What time was it in the lives of His disciples? 17:1
- What does the timing teach you about prayer?
Click here for the Bible Study especially developed for this newsletter.
Anne’s messages in this album were birthed after months of meditation on John 17. In this moving chapter we discover that Jesus is praying for us to stay focused on our relationship with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, to remain steadfast in our faith that is firmly planted in His Word, and to look forward to the future when we see Him in His glory.
Special guest teacher Rachel-Ruth Wright shares that the Lord wants to use us like Esther, for “such a time as this”—to access the King’s presence, using His authority in prayer until we get answers.
Anne’s daughter, Rachel-Ruth Wright, is leading an online women’s Bible study. You can join her live or review the recorded study on our website (see below). Here is a personal note from Rachel-Ruth:
If there was ever a time to be in God’s Word it is now!! I am so excited to have Bible Study starting back up! We are going to study Genesis this year. I love the Old Testament and I felt like the Lord led me to go back to the beginning . . . where it all started.
I’m looking forward to all that God wants to teach us. I think we all need it and are hungry to hear from Him. Since we have to be online, let’s pray God gives wings to this Bible study to reach people all over the country and the world!
JESUS IN ME
Experiencing the Holy Spirit as a Constant Companion
8-Session Video Bible Study
In Jesus in Me, Anne draws on her rich biblical knowledge as well as her personal story—including her recent cancer journey—to help us understand that the Holy Spirit is not a magic genie, a flame of fire, or a vague feeling. He is a Person who prays for us, guides us in our relationships and decisions, comforts us in pain, and stays by our side at all times. In this simple, yet profound teaching, she explores seven key aspects of the Holy Spirit that will revolutionize how you understand and relate to this vital third Person of the Trinity.
Discover how to better love and rely on the Person of the Holy Spirit and embrace how much He loves you.
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