It sounds so flowery- “unity prayer.” I’m not even sure where I am going with this, but the Spirit is stirring. I thought that I was heading out the door, but once again, behind the veil (in the shower), the Lord brought revelation to be shared. So here it goes.
If you are a Christ -follower, I want you to know that Jesus prayed for you while He was on the earth. In fact, in Jesus’ very last hours upon the earth, He prayed these words later recorded by John: “I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message (that’s you and I!), that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one. I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me” (John 17:20-23, emphasis added).
I don’t know what this does for you, but it sparks a passion in me! Jesus stated words of unity three times in His prayer for us. Three times. That repetition deserves our stopping and paying attention to the importance of His words. He states two times that the purpose of our unity is SO THE WORLD MAY BELIEVE THAT JESUS IS THE SON OF GOD, SENT BY GOD TO DEMONSTRATE THE LOVE OF GOD.
Can I say something, honestly? I am sickened by disunity. I hate it in families; I hate it in friendships. I hate it when I identify it in my own attitude and actions. I most hate it when I see it in the church. Disunity is a powerful work of Satan. It is effective. It screams to the lost in the world, “Jesus is not the Son of God!” Isn’t that the mission of the devil? He seeks to disprove the Gospel, and we are his agents when compliant. Every time we speak against a brother or sister in the Lord, the lost world looks upon our “holy boldness” (because we are brave enough to put it on Twitter or Facebook!) and says, “I knew it! They are just a bunch of hypocrites! I don’t want any part of that!”
Enough of my ranting! Let’s look for a solution. What am I to do? What are we to do?
First, we have to confess that we have sinned. We have spoken against one (or more) formed in the image of our holy God. Then, we have to make the choice to not partner with the destructive work of the enemy. We need to right now lay down the grievance we have against a fellow Christian. We have the power to take thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ. We have the power to shut our mouths and not allow any unwholesome words to come forth. We can choose the content of our conversations. Lastly, we must pray, because the critical spirit may not be in a rush to vacate the premises.
Father God, You are holy and You call us to a life of holiness in the Son, Jesus Christ. We confess that every time we have operated in a critical spirit we have sinned against You and You alone. We have been in partnership with the enemy every time we gave in to stand against a brother or sister in the Lord. Father, we confess our weakness in the flesh. In the natural state, we will fall right back into the rut of condemning ourselves and others, but Your eternal Word says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death. Therefore, I make the choice today to not live according the the flesh but according to the Spirit who is in Me because I belong to Christ. I am Your follower, Jesus, and I will lift up my brothers and sisters in the Lord so that we may be one in You. Father, unity in the Church is Your passion and it is my passion. Through my life of love for You and love for Your Church, let Your proclamation be known: Jesus has come to the earth and gave His life as a ransom for sin because of God’s love for all. In the All-Powerful Name of JESUS I pray, Amen!