John 17:20 - (Jesus said) "I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word."
Isn't it a marvel that Jesus Himself prays for us! Yes, we respond. He Himself, advocates for us as does the Holy Spirit. Incredible. That reminded me of a drawing, and the interesting story that went along with it.
Have you seen the artwork, "The Praying Hands," by German artist Albrecht Durer? It's a moving illustration of simplicity and power.
A story grew up around the artist, Albrecht Durer, and his works, especially of these hands in prayer. It is a story of sacrifice, love, and commitment. Durer, one of 18 children, dreamt of becoming a great artist, but he couldn't afford it. As the story is told, Albrecht's brother, Albert, willingly made a promise with Albrecht that they would draw lots. The winner would study to be a painter; the other would work in the gold mines as a support to the winner, until it was his turn.
So Albrecht won and thus devoted himself to his art studies. He agreed, however, to support his brother when he had achieved success with his craft. Some years later, Albrecht returned home to do just that. But when he got there, he discovered what a sacrifice his brother had made for him. Albert's hard work in the mines had done terrible things to his hands. His fingers were twisted and stiff. His hands had literally been ruined for life. He could no longer manage the delicate brush strokes necessary for executing fine paintings. But in spite of the price he had paid, so the story goes, Albert wasn't bitter. He was happy his brother Albrecht had attained success.
Well, one day Albrecht saw Albert kneeling, his rough hands entwined in silent prayer. Albrecht quickly sketched the hands he saw. Later, he used the sketch to create the drawing "The Praying Hands." He saw his brother's hands as a symbol of the sort of love that Jesus has shown to us.
Now, some people point out that this story must be invented because the hands in that painting appear to be in too good of shape. They maintain a miner's hands would be more gnarled. Point taken. But my reply is this: don't look at these hands as Albrecht's brother's hands. Consider them as Christ's hands. These are the hands of personal sacrifice, praying for you in ways you could not even pray for yourself.
These are the hands that were nailed flat to a cross for our sins and that now welcome us to come to Him in faith and love.
Yes, Jesus is praying for you. That's a powerful message of faith and joy in your life right now: to be received, reveled in, and put to work with hands folded in prayer.
THE PRAYER: Dear Jesus, help us see Your powerful hands in prayer for us, advocating for us. Amen.
From "Did You Know That Jesus Prays for You?" a sermon excerpt from Rev. Dr. Gregory Seltz, former Speaker of The Lutheran Hour
1. Do you have someone you'd call a mediator or go-between for you? How have they functioned in that role?
2. In the verse above, Jesus is talking about praying for us: "for those who will believe in Me through their word." Does that statement carry any special significance for you?
3. Have you been called on to intercede or be a mediator for anyone? How did that go for you?