"I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one." (John 17:15)
We are tempted to shelter from the world, to let the world swirl around us while we hunker down in our safe Christian bunkers. And for good reason. People get polluted by the world. How many high school students go off to worldly colleges and come back with a shattered faith? The world is a dangerous place.
Jesus wanted us to be protected from the evil one (or from evil in general). He recognized the dangers that the world presented, even telling the disciples directly that they would face persecution. He knew what the world was like.
But he still didn't ask the Father to remove them from the world. He wanted them to stay in the world in order to bring the gospel to bear on the world. For power, he would send the Holy Spirit.
What we can conclude from this is that Jesus wants his disciples to apply the gospel to the world that the world might be changed through the gospel. In fact, as the light of the gospel comes into the world, the darkness cannot overcome it. The world is transformed by the gospel and by prayer. This is what we are called to do as the people of God. This is our mission. And as such, we can have confidence that God will protect us according to Christ's prayer for us, and in turn we can take up the work the he has given us in the world.
So who are you praying for today?