“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”
John chapter 17 is commonly known as Jesus’ intercessory High Priestly prayer. In this prayer we get a glimpse into the heart of Jesus as he prepares to leave this world and return to the Father. In our passage above Jesus prays for his disciples to be sanctified by the truth, and then states that the Father’s word is truth. The “word” he is referring to is the gospel message itself-the message of redemption in Christ alone.
Jesus goes on to pray that his disciples be sanctified by this word of truth. The word “sanctify” carries with it the idea of being separate, or set apart for God’s glory. It can also mean to cleanse and make holy. We get a clear picture of this cleansing power of the gospel when Jesus told his disciples “You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you” (John 15:3). Jesus is always watching out for his followers. We are told that “…he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
The Power of Focusing on The Truth
While Jesus prays his focus remains on the separating power of God’s Word – the gospel message. The full revelation of the gospel truth is in view here. The written revelation of Christ and His purpose made alive by the Holy Spirit will renew, cleanse, and set us apart for God’s use.
Imagine how this revelation in the prayer life of Jesus will transform our prayer life, as the Holy Spirit guides us into praying revealed truth for ourselves and the world around us! How powerful a tool God’s revealed Word is in prayer. How powerful the Church is in any generation, when the focus of our intercessory prayer is the cleansing power of the truth of Jesus Christ – the Word of truth.
When we say God’s Word is God’s will, we are in essence referring to the total message of Christ, who is the Life the Truth and the Way. When we are praying God’s Word, we are praying for how God’s will is being done in Heaven to be on the earth as well. That is the separating cleansing power of God’s Word. We are actually praying for the world and ourselves to be cleansed and set apart for God’s glory through the gospel. This is the intent of the Lord’s prayer found in Matthew 6 and Luke 11. Jesus never strayed from his purpose for coming to earth, his will is always to do his Father’s will.
Remain Christ Centered
The Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Truth will guide is into all truth in our praying as well. God’s will is the truth He desires to communicate on the earth. When we’re praying with the Word, we are praying God’s will, and that sets our requests apart from much of the self-centered praying that many are doing. Jesus taught his followers in his Sermon on the Mount, to use their faith to seek first the Kingdom of God and His Righteousness (the gospel truth), and all their needs will be supplied anyway.
Praying God’s Word accurately will cause our faith to grow resulting in receiving from Him more consistently. The whole principle of answered prayer rests on the purpose of God’s Word which is His will being done on earth as it is in Heaven. We find these very instructions in the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy will be done, on earth as it is in Heaven.” This is why God answers prayers based upon His Word. It is always His will to meet the needs of those who are placing Him first. This principle is simple; we make it our priority to take care of God’s business, and He’ll take care of ours.
You can trust the Spirit of Truth to transform your life, and to transform your prayer life as well. By the practice of praying in line with God’s Word, you too will be gradually set apart for His use for His glory. This is why God is so eager to answer prayer (John 15:7-8). Keep in mind you too have already been cleansed and set apart by the word spoken to you (the gospel). Paul tells us that Jesus is always active in sanctifying His Church, He continues to “make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:26-27). This was the whole point of His prayer in John 17.
So, Believe in the life changing power of God’s Word of truth. Start praying the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth. Be amazed by His power to set you apart, to lead you and guide you, to be used by Him to help others. Be focused on God’s will being done, Keep your eyes on Jesus, because He’s keeping His eyes on you, Be cleansed by the Truth, and Be Encouraged! -JSP