John makes it clear in the opening line of this verse that the prayer that Jesus is about to pray is totally connected to the things that Jesus has been saying to his disciples over the past few hours, John 13 to 16. Jesus has told his disciples that he is about to die, but that he will see them again. Jesus has told them that the Holy Spirit is coming to be their helper. Jesus has told them that he is accomplishing the work that God has sent him to do. Jesus has told them that he is betrayed by one of his friends.
What would you expect Jesus to do in a time like this. Where there is nothing more that he can teach his disciples given the present circumstances, Jesus pauses, lifts his eyes to heaven, and prays. He’s not too stressed to pray. He’s not too busy to pray. He’s not too distracted to pray. His mind is not racing too fast to pray. No, Jesus knows that he needs to spend some quality time with his Father, so he prays, right then and there.
Notice, by the way, that the first word of Jesus’ prayer is, “Father.” This is just how he taught his disciples to pray too. He is talking to God, and calling God his very own dad. He shows that he has a loving and close relationship with God. He is showing that he can trust God like a person should be able to trust the best dad imaginable. He is showing us that he can love God, be close to God, and still show right honor and reverence for God. Later in the prayer, he will call God holy Father in verse 11 and righteous Father in verse 25.
Christians, we find ourselves in difficult days sometimes, don’t we? Of course nothing we face is quite like what Jesus is staring at; but still, we know what it feels like to have pain and trouble. Well, if we are going to be Christians, little pictures of Jesus in the world, when we face life, we need to do what Jesus did. Jesus prayed. He talked to his dad. He made sure that he did not get so wrapped up in what was going on that he failed to demonstrate to himself and to those around him that God was right there with him, caring for him. We need to do the same. Pray, because Jesus prayed.