“I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours. All mine are yours, and yours are mine, and I am glorified in them. And I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one…Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:9-11, 17)
Often our desires are carnal, shaped by the influence of the world and our flesh. As we are undergoing sanctification, we often have conflicting desires between our sin nature and our Christ-nature. This should encourage us, since the righteous aspirations that are now present in us threaten our worldly desires, evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in us. To see this internal battle accurately, we must be able to discern God’s desires for us in Christ. Every Sunday at our church services we should be taught, reminded and confronted with Christ’s desires for us, his children.
In the Lord’s prayer, we pray, first of all, for God’s desires on earth, “Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10-11) It is God’s will for his name to be praised and exalted as his will is carried out in us, through us, and for us. God gave us to Christ as a gift; we belong to him. Jesus prayed for all believers to glorify him in this world before he ascended into heaven. Just as Jesus glorified the Father, he wants to us to glorify him. He also prayed, in John 17 that we would be united with him and each other, as he is one with the Father and the Spirit. Thirdly, Jesus prayed for us to be sanctified in the truth of God’s Word, which should happen every time we hear a biblical sermon, take the sacraments, sing doctrinally sound hymns, and participate in confession and prayer.
Paul urged the believers in Ephesus to be wise in knowing the will of God for them when they came together. “Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is…be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.” (Ephesians 5:17-20)
What is your intention for worship today? Will you be glad to be joined with the body, filled with the Spirit as you worship with your congregation out of reverence for Jesus Christ?