Cover photo by Peter Oswald on Unsplash
You are my friends if you do what I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.
This passage in John 15 is overflowing with truth that when understood and practiced has the power to set the tone for the trajectory of our lives. I want to focus on the connection between friendship with Jesus and prayer. Jesus begins this passage stating that we are his friends if we do what he commands and then he immediately makes the comparison between a servant and a friend. Both a servant and a friend are similar in that they both obey commands but what is different is the nature of the relationship. A servant has no option other than to obey but a friend has the freedom to choose.
For Jesus one of the core distinctions of friendship is the intimacy that comes from sharing what is most important. A vulnerability in revealing oneself to another. What was most precious to Jesus was his relationship with his Father and this is what he most wanted to share with his friends.
When I think of the friendships in my life and reflect on the impact they have made on my life. I think of the ways they have walked along side me in seasons of deep struggle as well as how they have helped me celebrate and enjoy life. But the deepest connections I have with my friends are when they open up their hearts and reveal how God is at work in their lives and how they are experiencing God. I believe this is the same kind of revealing of the Father that Jesus speaks about in this passage.
Have you noticed how when we spend a lot of quality time with friends we began to become like them in different ways? This is a human trait, from the time we are born we learn by mimicking. I believe this is why Jesus can say to us, as his friends, “whatever you ask the Father in my name, he will give it to you.” He knows that one of the beautiful and mysterious fruits of our friendship with him is that we become like him. His burdens become our burdens and his passions become our passions and his prayers become our prayers.
One of Jesus’ last and most pressing prayers was for unity. He prayed, “that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. As Jesus’ friends may this be our daily prayer in agreement with him.
Reflect on this quote:
“The unity of Christians is not a luxury, but a necessity. The World will go limping until Christ’s prayer that all may be one is answered. We must have unity, not at all costs, but at all risks. A unified Church is the only offering we dare present to the coming Christ, for in it alone will He find room to dwell.”
–Charles Henry Brent
Pope John XXIII stated that, “Whenever I see the wall dividing Christians, I try to take out at least one brick.” What is a brick in the dividing wall that God might be asking you to remove?
“God of compassion send your Holy Spirit upon us, that we may also be witnesses to reconciliation in our daily lives. Make of us builders of unity among Christians where they are separated, bearers of peace among people when they are opposed. Help us to live in solidarity with those who are poor, be they near or far away.”