RCL Year B Easter 7
Acts 1:15–17 and 21–26, Psalm 1, I John 5:9–13, Saint John 17:6–19

On the night before Jesus was handed over to suffering and death, he prayed for his disciples the prayer that is today’s Gospel: “Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”[1]

At some point in our lives, we should make up our minds about prayer. Does it work, or doesn’t it? When Christ prays for our protection, does that prayer work?

Well, it does work. Christ prays for our protection, but his prayer for our protection is that we be made one with him and with his Father. If you look for your prayers to change the circumstances you face—like the boring friend who talks too long, or the sickness that has returned—you may not like the answer to your prayer. The bore may stay longer, and the sickness may worsen. But you may get an answer to your prayer that will enable you to live with greater grace and with greater strength. You, not your circumstances, will change. You will grow from strength to strength, which is the answer to Christ’s prayer. Protect them, that they may be one, as Christ and the Father are one.

When you pray, ask for what you need or for what is pressing upon you. But look for the answer to be like the one in Christ’s prayer, that you come closer and closer to the living God. Your coming closer to God is God’s answer to every prayer, even yours and even mine.

It has been said that the only difference between a saint and a sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future. “Protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one.”

[1] Saint John 17:11b.