Bible Study Guides – “I Pray For Them”

March 10, 2001 – March 16, 2001

Memory Verse

“Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth.” John 17:17.

Study Help: Testimonies, vol. 8, 239–244.


“…we are to learn to answer the prayer recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John. We are to make this prayer our first study. Every gospel minister, every medical missionary, is to learn the science of this prayer. My brethren and sisters, I ask you to heed these words and to bring to your study a calm, humble, contrite spirit, and the healthy energies of a mind under the control of God. Those who fail to learn the lessons contained in this prayer are in danger of making one-sided developments, which no future training will ever fully correct.” Testimonies, vol. 8, 239.

“I Have Finished the Work Which Thou Gavest Me To Do”

1 What was the purpose of Christ’s life? John 17:1, 2, 4.

note: “In all the gracious deeds that Jesus did, He sought to impress upon men the parental, benevolent attributes of God. In all His lessons He was seeking to teach men the wonderful truth that ‘God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’ Jesus would have us understand the love of the Father, and He seeks to draw us to Him by presenting His parental grace. He would have the whole field of our vision filled with the perfection of God’s character. In His prayer for His disciples He says, ‘I have glorified Thee on the earth: I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do. I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest Me out of the world.’ Jesus came into the world to illustrate the character of God in His own life, and He swept back the misrepresentations that Satan had originated, and revealed the glory of God. It was only by living among men that He could reveal the mercy, compassion, and love of His heavenly Father; for it was only by actions of benevolence that He could set forth the grace of God.” Sons and Daughters of God, 139.

2 What precious gift does Christ give to His followers and for what purpose? John 17:22.

note: “The glory of God is His character. While Moses was in the mount, earnestly interceding with God, he prayed, ‘I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory.’ In answer God declared, ‘I will make all My goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the Lord before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will show mercy on whom I will show mercy.’ The glory of God—His character—was then revealed: ‘The Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty’ (Exodus 33:18, 19; 34:6, 7). This character was revealed in the life of Christ. That He might by His own example condemn sin in the flesh, He took upon Himself the likeness of sinful flesh. Constantly He beheld the character of God; constantly He revealed this character to the world. Christ desires His followers to reveal in their lives this same character. In His intercessory prayer for His disciples He declared: ‘The glory [character] which thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one; I in them, and Thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.’ (John 17:22, 23.) Today it is still His purpose to sanctify and cleanse His church ‘…that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing….’ (Ephesians 5:26, 27.)” God’s Amazing Grace, 322.

“This is Life Eternal”

3 What knowledge is essential for eternal life? John 17:3. Compare John 14:7.

note: One of the major themes of John’s writings, both in his Gospel and Epistles, is the knowledge that a follower of Christ must have.

“Having received the faith of the gospel, the next work of the believer is to add to his character virtue, and thus cleanse the heart and prepare the mind for the reception of the knowledge of God. This knowledge is the foundation of all true education and of all true service. It is the only real safeguard against temptation; and it is this alone that can make one like God in character. Through the knowledge of God and of His Son Jesus Christ, are given to the believer ‘all things that pertain unto life and godliness.’ No good gift is withheld from him who sincerely desires to obtain the righteousness of God.” Acts of the Apostles, 530.

4 How did Jesus communicate the knowledge of God to His disciples? John 14:8, 9.

note: “It would be well to spend a thoughtful hour each day reviewing the life of Christ from the manger to Calvary. We should take it point by point and let the imagination vividly grasp each scene, especially the closing ones of His earthly life. By thus contemplating His teachings and sufferings, and the infinite sacrifice made by Him for the redemption of the race, we may strengthen our faith, quicken our love, and become more deeply imbued with the spirit which sustained our Saviour. If we would be saved at last we must all learn the lesson of penitence and faith at the foot of the cross.….Everything noble and generous in man will respond to the contemplation of Christ upon the cross.” Maranatha, 77.

“The World Hath Hated Them”

5 What plea did Jesus make for His disciples after He was to be taken from them? John 17:11, 12.

note: “Jesus loves the purchase of His blood, and in passing through the scene of His humiliation to the scene of His exaltation in the heavens, He lost none of His compassionate nature. To–day the same loving, tender, sympathizing heart is open to all the sorrows and woes of humanity. To–day the hand that was pierced is reached forth to bless more abundantly His people that are in the world. Can Christ forget the struggling church that has been left here in the world, which has come to be like the world before the flood, fit for destruction, which has become like Sodom, meet for the wrathful fires from heaven? The Father sees the wormwood and the gall which His dear Son drank for the fallen race. He hears His prayer in behalf of His children: ‘I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to Thee. Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, as We are.…’” Sabbath School Worker, September 1, 1893.

See also The Desire of Ages, 680.

6 Why does the world hate those who seek to follow Jesus? John 17:14. Compare Matthew 10:22; Luke 6:22.

note: “Through trial and persecution the glory—the character—of God is revealed in His chosen ones. The believers in Christ, hated and persecuted by the world, are educated and disciplined in the school of Christ. On earth they walk in narrow paths; they are purified in the furnace of affliction. They follow Christ through sore conflicts; they endure self-denial and experience bitter disappointments; but thus they learn the guilt and woe of sin, and they look upon it with abhorrence. Being partakers of Christ’s sufferings, they can look beyond the gloom to the glory, saying, ‘I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ Romans 8:18.” Acts of the Apostles, 576, 577.

“Sanctified Through the Truth”

7 What is the will of God for His church? 1 Thessalonians 4:3; John 17:19.

note: “John and Judas are representatives of those who profess to be Christ’s followers. Both these disciples had the same opportunities to study and follow the divine Pattern. Both were closely associated with Jesus and were privileged to listen to His teaching. Each possessed serious defects of character; and each had access to the divine grace that transforms character. But while one in humility was learning of Jesus, the other revealed that he was not a doer of the word, but a hearer only. One, daily dying to self and overcoming sin, was sanctified through the truth; the other, resisting the transforming power of grace and indulging selfish desires, was brought into bondage to Satan. Such transformation of character as is seen in the life of John is ever the result of communion with Christ. There may be marked defects in the character of an individual, yet when he becomes a true disciple of Christ, the power of divine grace transforms and sanctifies him. Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, he is changed from glory to glory, until he is like Him whom he adores.” Acts of the Apostles, 558, 559.

8 What means is available to us to sanctify our characters? John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26, 27; Psalm 119:11.

note: “‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ Romans 10:17. The Scriptures are the great agency in the transformation of character. Christ prayed, ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth; Thy word is truth.’ John 17:17. If studied and obeyed, the word of God works in the heart, subduing every unholy attribute. The Holy Spirit comes to convict of sin, and the faith that springs up in the heart works by love to Christ, conforming us in body, soul, and spirit to His own image. Then God can use us to do His will. The power given us works from within outwardly, leading us to communicate to others the truth that has been communicated to us.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 100.

“That Thay All May Be One”

9 What was the dearest desire of Christ’s heart for all His followers? John 17:20, 21, 23.

note: “Harmony and union existing among men of varied dispositions is the strongest witness that can be borne that God has sent His Son into the world to save sinners. It is our privilege to bear this witness. But, in order to do this, we must place ourselves under Christ’s command. Our characters must be molded in harmony with His character, our wills must be surrendered to His will. We are of the same faith, members of one family, all children of the same heavenly Father, with the same blessed hope of immortality. How close and tender should be the tie that binds us together. The people of the world are watching us to see if our faith is exerting a sanctifying influence upon our hearts. They are quick to discern every defect in our lives, every inconsistency in our actions. Let us give them no occasion to reproach our faith.” God’s Amazing Grace, 210.

10 What joyful prospect awaits those who fulfil Christ’s prayer for unity? John 17:24.

note: “Oh, how the divine Head longed to have His church with Him! They had fellowship with Him in His suffering and humiliation, and it is His highest joy to have them with Him to be partakers of His glory. Christ claims the privilege of having His church with Him. ‘I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am.’ To have them with Him is according to covenant promise and agreement with His Father. He reverently presents at the mercy seat His finished redemption for His people. The bow of promise encircles our Substitute and Surety as He pours out His petition of love, ‘Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory.’ We shall behold the King in His beauty, and the church will be glorified.” Testimonies to Ministers, 20, 21.

“I In Them And Thou In Me”

11 What is the secret of unity among the followers of Christ? John 17:23, first part; Colossians 1:27.

note: “The Lord has made abundant provision that His love may be given to us as His free, abundant grace, as our inheritance in this life, to enable us to diffuse the same by being yoked up with Christ. Jesus conveys the circulating vitality of a pure and sanctified Christlike love through every part of our human nature. When this love is expressed in the character, it reveals to all those with whom we associate that it is possible for God to be formed within, the hope of glory. It shows that God loved the obedient ones as He loves Jesus Christ; and nothing less than this satisfies His desires in our behalf. As soon as the human agent becomes united with Christ in heart, soul, and spirit, the Father loves that soul as a part of Christ, as a member of the body of Christ, He himself being the glorious head.” Fundamentals of Christian Education, 466.

12 What gracious invitation is made to each individual Christian? Revelation 3:20.

note: “It is the voice of Jesus asking for entrance. With every knock unheeded, the disposition to open becomes weaker. The impressions of the Holy Spirit if disregarded today, will not be as strong tomorrow. The heart becomes less impressible, and lapses into a perilous unconsciousness of the shortness of life, and of the great eternity beyond. Our condemnation in the judgement will not result from the fact that we have been in error, but from the fact that we have neglected heaven-sent opportunities for learning what is truth.” The Desire of Ages, 490. See also Christ’s Object Lessons, 235.