May They Be One As We Are One!
by Remco Brommet
Unity is highly prized by our Lord. Psalm 133:1 says:“Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.”
In fact, it is so important that Jesus ends the final meal and teaching time he has with his disciples in the Upper Room with a High Priestly prayer for it: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-22)
He knew that the unity of the believers would reflect the unity between Him and the Father, and thus be essential for the credibility of the gospel. And that Satan would attack it with all his might, using the tendency toward discord that resides in our flesh (Galatians 5:19,20).
At first, after the outpouring of the unifying Holy Spirit, all believers truly were one, as we read in Acts 2 and 4. They had everything in common, no one had a need; their unity was love made visible and drew the favor and admiration of all around, drawing many to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
But soon, the enemy started having success. And almost two thousand years later, the Christian church is marked more by divisions, disagreements, infighting, power struggles and splits than love and unity. Add to that here in the US competition for church size and individualism – an unhealthy preoccupation with our own campus at the expense of working together to spread the gospel.
Our country itself is even more mired in chaos. Racial tension, social divisions, economic divisions, political rifts are running deeper than ever. Don’t get me started there. We are supposed to be the United States, One Nation Under God, but appear to be anything but. I believe with all my heart that the discord in our nation is related to the discord in the church. A divided, conflicted church cannot set an example or positively influence the unity of a nation. A church united to Christ and to each other can. So let’s make this our prayer emphasis this week as part of the “Consider Your Ways” reflection and response to The Great Pause that the COVID-19 pandemic has forced upon us.
Here are some topics for you to consider praying into, each day of the week as you see fit (Yup, I’m still a pastor at heart so I like alliteration!):
Repentance: Let us repent of any traces of prejudice, competition, condemnation, dissension and discord first of all in our own heart, and then seek God’s forgiveness on behalf of His Church for divisions along racial, economic, political, doctrinal and missional lines.
Reconciliation: Let us ask the Lord to give us a spirit of reconciliation and forgiveness to begin restoring our divisions and let go of grievances and hurts, remembering that we were all forgiven through Christ and are expected to pay that forward (Matthew 6:14,15); Let us pray for our pastors and congregations to let go of any individualism, mistrust, envy, or competitiveness that seeks individual ministry success above partnership in the gospel.
Restoration: Let us pray for healing of the wounds caused by division, strife, and competition in ministry. Wounds cause fear. But perfect love drives out fear (1 John 4:18). Let us pray for the perfect love of God to be poured out in our hearts so we may love each other unconditionally and freely.
Reunification: Let us pray for us to rediscover doing life together: being one in mind and spirit, sharing our resources and meeting one another’s needs – as a visible manifestation of God’s love poured out into our hearts. Let us pray here, that we do not return to our church campuses to “circle the wagons” again but become innovative and outward focused to welcome all who are drawn by our unity and love.
Release: Let us pray for the release of our unity into the our nation and world through prayerful cooperation in mission, charity, and evangelism. Pray for the boldness and courage for believers to set transforming and impactful examples in conflict resolution, collaboration, sacrificial love and charity, and to boldly and lovingly call for our society to unite for the greater return to being the United States – One Nation Under God.
These are just some pointers. There may be more. Let the Holy Spirit lead you. Let us listen to the Lord, think deeply, grieve over discord and thirst for the unity Jesus prayed for Himself.
And be emboldened and encouraged by the fact that you are echoing that High Priestly prayer in the Upper Room.
Jesus rejoices in these prayers.
Satan trembles at these prayers.
So let us believe God together for a mighty revival of unity!
Audio of 4-23-2020 TI Prayer Call Devotional on Unity – Remco Brommet