“The Father Planned It All” by Robert Hawker
Almighty Father, it is your special mercy to give your Son, and with him all things, to the highly favored objects of your everlasting love.
From all eternity, you planned, ordered, willed, appointed, and prepared the great salvation of the gospel. You chose Christ as the head, and the church as the body of this amazing work of redemption.
You have carried out all the great designs. You strengthen and complete everything in our final salvation—in grace here, and glory hereafter.
Blessed, holy, and compassionate Lord God! For the sake of Jesus fulfill this promise daily in my soul. Bear me up, carry me through, and strengthen me in Christ, that I may walk in his name, until you bring me in to see his face in your eternal home, and I dwell under the light of his countenance forever, amen.
Thursday May 7, 2020—National Day of Prayer
John 17:1-5 When Jesus had spoken these words, he lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, 2 since you have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3 And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4 I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. 5 And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.
Today, I want to encourage you and be encouraged myself to pray. In the passage above, we see our Lord Jesus praying. In John 17, Jesus is with his disciples, eleven of them, anyway. You see, this is the night that our Lord will be arrested. Judas has already made his exit at the prompting of Satan to betray Jesus. Jesus doesn’t pray in response to Judas leaving—that was back in chapter 13. Jesus’ prayer is all part of his plan, which went according to the Father’s plan.
Jesus prayed here for his disciples, both those present in the room and his disciples from every time (v. 20 ““I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word”). Jesus prayed for his people here, knowing our weakness and his mission, he prayed that we would be preserved from the Evil One (v. 15). He prayed that we might share in the glory of heaven—so that Jesus would be glorified in us (v.10, 20-23). He prayed for our sanctification, that God would set those who Jesus had received in the covenant of redemption for the purpose of God’s glory and their personal holiness (vv.17-18). Jesus prayed for his people, we should also pray for Jesus’ people. That we would be protected from the world and Satan. That we would exist purposefully to glorify God and enjoy him forever—which means we must embrace the gospel truth in all of our being and actions.
But later on Jesus would pray for himself in the garden of Gethsemane. He would pray for another way, but also he would pray God’s will be done. There was no other way, we all know that. Today, our point is that Jesus also prayed for himself. Be encouraged to pray for yourself—that God would deliver you from whatever needs you have, especially those spiritual needs. The spiritual foes at your door that won’t leave you alone and seek to destroy your walk with Christ, you may pray for deliverance from them. Psalm 86:14-16 records one such prayer, “O God, insolent men have risen up against me; a band of ruthless men seeks my life, and they do not set you before them. But you, O Lord, are a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness. Turn to me and be gracious to me; give your strength to your servant, and save the son of your maidservant.” Find others in the Psalms that offer special words to your own personal thoughts.
We should, of course, pray for our leaders (1 Tim. 2). Pray for Christian leaders to rise up. Pray for wisdom in all our leaders. Pray for those who are Christians in positions of leadership to be protected from forces of worldly influence, undue political power, and Satan’s minions. This warfare is spiritual (Eph. 6), while we can see some of the effects of Satan’s fight against God, the majority of the fight is invisible, pray that our leaders would remain vigilant in service of Truth.
Pray according to God’s promises, as we read in Robert Hawker’s prayer from the top of this devotional. “Blessed, holy, and compassionate Lord God! For the sake of Jesus fulfill this promise daily in my soul. Bear me up, carry me through, and strengthen me in Christ, that I may walk in his name, until you bring me in to see his face in your eternal home, and I dwell under the light of his countenance forever, amen.” Jesus was doing the same thing in John 17. We are the people the Father gave the Son. The Father already secured us safely in the Son’s bosom, but still Jesus prayed—because prayer is more than petition. “Prayer is an idol-busting activity”, Dale Ralph Davis said once, use your prayer time to destroy the idols of your heart and this world. Prayer is our acknowledgement that we are dependent on God. It is our action of looking to the Father of all Blessedness for today’s sustenance and favor. Let us all take advantage of the Throne of Grace today.
In Jesus’ love and work for our eternal good,
 Hawker, Robert, “The Father Planned It All” in Piercing Heaven: Prayers of the Puritans. Ed. by Robert Elmer. (Lexham Press: Bellingham, WA, 2019) p.98.