The Model Prayer in John 17

In Matthew 6:9-13, Jesus gave His disciples the Model Prayer, which provides at least 6 “agenda topics” that God wants us to address with Him when we pray (see message here). But Jesus didn’t just commend a model to us; He lived it out. When He prayed His great High Priestly prayer in John 17, just before He went to the cross, we find at least several elements of the Model Prayer in it:

Importantly, Jesus opens His prayer in :1 by praying, “Father, the hour has come, glorify the Son, that the Son may glorify You.” As He begins His prayer He seeks to glorify God’s name, just as He taught His disciples to open their prayers by praising God, “Hallowed be Your Name.”

Then, just as He instructed His disciples to seek the Kingdom of God in prayer next, so He prays about His kingdom work in the next part of His prayer: “I manifested Your name to the men whom You gave me out of the world; they were Yours and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word.” (:6) There are other references to the work of the Kingdom in the prayer as well.

We also find Jesus praying regarding the spiritual protection of His disciples:  “Holy Father, keep them in Your name, which You have given Me …” — even as He instructed us in the Model Prayer to pray that we and others would not be led into temptation, but delivered from evil.

It is not a stretch to say that a study of Jesus’ prayer in John 17 will reveal that virtually every topical element of the Model Prayer, will be found in His own great petition. Which should not surprise us. As in so many things, He left us “an example that we should follow in His steps.” (I Peter 2:21)


About Shawn Thomas

My blog,, features the text of my sermons, book reviews, family life experiences -- as well as a brief overview of the Lifeway "Explore the Bible" lesson for Southern Baptist Sunday School teachers.
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