Be it a time of distress, a moment of loss, or a season of uncertainty, sometimes the greatest offer we can receive is the promise of prayer. I will pray for you. With those five simple words, what I once held alone (or that which I felt held me captive) is transformed from a solitary burden to a communal endeavor. Whatever was mine is now ours. The blessed assurance being that together we, each in our own way, will hold the intention at the heart of our conversation with God.
We trust this promise because we hear it in Jesus’ own prayer. Facing the imminence of his death, Jesus’ words fold in on themselves—a rapid-fire succession of “you in me” and “I in them” and “they in us” that can boggle our minds if we don’t pause to hold the heart of his prayer. Transcending time, Jesus is emphatically praying for us: that all may be one, in God and for God, forever and always.
Listening to Jesus pray, our hearts are stirred. In this crucial moment, Jesus reminds us who we are and who—in union with others—we are called to be. What’s more, he reminds us whose we are. We are God’s—a beloved people, a gift given and received.
In the intimate prayer of Christ, we know this to be true. Despite the darkness of night, we, like Paul, hear God say, “Take courage.” We can do this because Jesus has prayed and continues to pray for us and with us. Knowing we are lovingly held in the heart of God, we are called to love one another, so that the resurrected Christ might be known in our union and our lives might be the answer to Jesus’ prayer.