I’m no longer in the world, but they are in the world, even as I’m coming to you. Holy Father, watch over them in your name, the name you gave me, that they will be one just as we are one. When I was with them, I watched over them in your name, the name you gave to me, and I kept them safe. None of them were lost, except the one who was destined for destruction, so that scripture would be fulfilled. Now I’m coming to you and I say these things while I’m in the world so that they can share completely in my joy. I gave your word to them and the world hated them, because they don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. I’m not asking that you take them out of this world but that you keep them safe from the evil one. They don’t belong to this world, just as I don’t belong to this world. Make them holy in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. I made myself holy on their behalf so that they also would be made holy in the truth.

“I’m not praying only for them but also for those who believe in me because of their word. I pray they will be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. I pray that they also will be in us, so that the world will believe that you sent me. I’ve given them the glory that you gave me so that they can be one just as we are one. I’m in them and you are in me so that they will be made perfectly one. Then the world will know that you sent me and that you have loved them just as you loved me.

“Father, I want those you gave me to be with me where I am. Then they can see my glory, which you gave me because you loved me before the creation of the world. ~John 17:11-24 (CEB)

“Jesus lived his life in community. From his childhood with Mary and Joseph to his calling and raveling with the disciples to his declaration that he and the Father were one, Jesus lived in community. A community of faith nurtured him (“Who do the crowds say that I am? [Luke 9:18]). It is unthinkable that we would try to live a faithful life without the gifts offered in a faithful community of Jesus. Jesus was known for valuing solitude since he retired to rest and pray, but living in community also marked his life.

Jesus makes a dramatic and revolutionary promise when he says, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them” (Matt 18:20). This is a welcome promise to those who may wonder if God is present in their lives or their affairs. This a hopeful promise for those who sometimes feel alone and forsaken. This is an enormous assurance for those who face the unknown and need companionship and community.

We can be sure that Jesus keeps his promise and that when we gather in his name, he will be with us. We are often blessed by being in community. We receive encouragement, guidance, comfort, and hope by participating in a community. These gifts of community are available to us all, and we receive them more readily when we remember that Jesus meets us there.” From A Guide to Prayer for those who seek God, Rueben P. Job

Heavenly Father, I thank You for the community You have placed me in to nurture and grow my faith. I thank You for the encouragement, guidance, comfort and hope that I have received. I recognize that it might not always have been to my choosing but that You have used all situations to make me who I am today. Amen.

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