I Pray Not For The World

Feb 18, 2008

Good Morning Reggie: This verse states Our Lord as saying, “I pray not
for the world.” It has come up re intercession. Does it mean that WE
do not pray for the world also? Happy to have you back with us.

Hi, That’s a very interesting question. I’ve always noticed that Christ prayed for the Jews but not for the world. He prayed for Peter that his faith fail not, but there’s no record that He ever prayed thus for Judas. There are some passages that suggest why.

A number of passages show that that Judas was not given to Christ in the same sense as the other eleven. Judas was chosen to be among the twelve to fulfill the scripture, but was not chosen in the eternal sense, since he never believed (compare Jn 6:64-70 with 13:1-11). So your question raises many others. But this much seems clear: Regardless of a person’s view of things like election or predestination, unless someone is a Universalist, it is agreed by all that it has never been the Father’s purpose to save other than those that believe out of the world. The provision of the predestined Lamb is restricted to the “whosoever will” of faith. Only these are definitely given to the Son for the saving and the keeping. “I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine … those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost” (Jn 17:9, 12), also, “And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (Jn 6:39).

This shows that Christ has a special familial responsibility towards these that no other can claim. Christ’s high priestly intercession has ‘particular’ limitation to the regenerate people of God, simply because only they are His in this unique sense. “Nevertheless the foundation of God stands sure, having this seal; the Lord knows them that are His” (2 Tim 2:19)

Jesus is not at liberty to pray for the world, because He is under authority to pray only in accordance with the perfect will of God. His prayers are limited to those only that do not attempt come up by any other way than the one divinely approved means. “Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing he ever lives to make intercession for them: (Heb 7:25). We are free to pray that certain ones (not the whole world) will come to God by Him. To pray that the whole world come is not in keeping with His declared intention and is, of course, futile. “I do not say that he should pray for it” (1Jn 5:16).

I mentioned Christ’s prayer for the nation of the Jews. I believe this fulfilled in that final elect remnant that will be miraculously preserved through the throes of Jacob’s trouble until they too are made “willing in the day of His power” (Ps 102:13 with 110:13) in perfect analogy with Paul’s sovereign divine arrest on the Damascus road (Gal 1:15-16).

What a comfort to know that He prays for His own, and particularly that our faith ‘fail not’ in the day of testing. Wow! That’s Grace with a capital G! “Who (specifically those that the Father has eternally given to the Son) are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). Did we ever imagine it was anything less that is keeping us? Did we ever imagine that there was ever any hope of our faith unless He is not only its ‘author’ but necessarily also its ‘finisher’?

Oh to grace how great a debtor! Reggie

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The Body of Christ
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  1. adullam
    Dear Reggie, I'm really sorry if I missed something on the site but I can't find anything that could reasonably reconcile "I pray not for the world" and "Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth" Tim 2:4? yours niki
  2. [...] is a followup question to a post in early 2008 called “I Pray Not For The World” Dear [...]
  3. Dave
    Romans 8:28-30 28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. (NASB) I believe the Bible teaches at least some are predestined, if not all, before we are ever born. I believe this was illustrated perfectly in Jeremiah. Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5) In Romans 9 we see that God makes some vessels for honor and some for dishonor, and we are not to question His decision as to why He does this. Matthew 22:14 (Many are called, but few are CHOSEN.) I know the doctrine of predestination, which will get you labeled as a Calvanist, is not a popular doctrine. The bible clearly teaches freewill and it clearly teaches predestination. It's not easy to get both doctrines to play nicely with each other. I do believe certain people are born for the very purpose of accomplishing a certain task, as Jeremiah was, and cannot resist the will of God, simply because what God wants, God gets, end of story. In Luke, we see that John the Baptist leaped in the womb of Elizabeth when Mary entered the room. John was born for a specific purpose and under no circumstance could have resisted the will of God. It is definitely a subject that will fuel passion on those that believe in freewill only and those who believe in predestination. I am of the belief that man has limited freewill. God don't pick out what you are having for supper, that is up to you, but He has a course for certain peoples lives and they will adhere to His will regardless of their will. Even the doctrine of "freewill" is not true freewill. True freewill is being able to not choose God or Satan, but to exist independent of both if one so chooses. But God has narrowed the choice for you and you must choose one of the choices He has picked, either Life or Death, according to the freewill doctrine. I argue that is not freewill at all. Freewill says, "I choose God" and predestination says, "God chooses you". Which a person chooses to believe is entirely up to them, as strong arguments are made on both sides.
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