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What is the longest prayer of Jesus in the gospels?



Philip Kosloski - published on 04/28/24

The Gospel of John provides the longest prayer that is recorded in the gospels, often called the "priestly prayer of Jesus."

Jesus prays frequently throughout the gospels, both in audible prayers and in many prayers that are not recorded.

The longest prayer that is recorded in the gospels is featured in the Gospel of John.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains a little background into this prayer:

When “his hour” came, Jesus prayed to the Father. His prayer, the longest transmitted by the Gospel, embraces the whole economy of creation and salvation, as well as his death and Resurrection. The prayer of the Hour of Jesus always remains his own, just as his Passover “once for all” remains ever present in the liturgy of his Church.

Christian Tradition rightly calls this prayer the “priestly” prayer of Jesus. It is the prayer of our high priest, inseparable from his sacrifice, from his passing over (Passover) to the Father to whom he is wholly “consecrated.”

CCC 2746-2747

A Last Supper prayer

The prayer is situated during the Last Supper account, right before Jesus goes with his disciples to the Garden of Gethsemane and is arrested on Holy Thursday night:

When Jesus had said this, he raised his eyes to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come. Give glory to your son, so that your son may glorify you, just as you gave him authority over all people, so that he may give eternal life to all you gave him. Now this is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ. I glorified you on earth by accomplishing the work that you gave me to do. Now glorify me, Father, with you, with the glory that I had with you before the world began.”

John 17:1-5

The prayer is a total of 26 verses and provides a profound example of prayer that is not in any of the other gospels.

The Catechism continues its commentary on this unique prayer, “In this Paschal and sacrificial prayer, everything is recapitulated in Christ: God and the world; the Word and the flesh; eternal life and time; the love that hands itself over and the sin that betrays it; the disciples present and those who will believe in him by their word; humiliation and glory. It is the prayer of unity” (CCC 2748).

If you need a prayer to meditate on, try reading and re-reading the longest recorded prayer of Jesus.

BibleCCC PrayerPrayer
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