If you are a believer, have you ever stopped to think about the fact that, before you came to Christ, he was praying for you? Do you know that he still does?
Even before their conversion, all believers already belong to God by virtue of eternal election. They are considered to be the possession of God because He has chosen them to be His own:
“I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.” —John 17:9Jesus made a careful distinction between those for whom He prayed—the elect of God—and those for whom He did not pray—unbelievers. The Lord focused His priestly intercession upon those the Father chose as His own possession before time began, then gave to the Son. Standing behind this verse is the monumental doctrine of sovereign election. MacArthur writes, “‘They were Yours’ (cf. v. 9) is a potent assertion that before conversion, they belonged to God (cf. 6:37). That is true because of God’s election. They were chosen before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4), when their names were written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev. 17:8).”1
1 Steve Lawson, Foundations of Grace, 281.