John 17; 2 Chronicles 25; Psalm 82
Prayer is a powerful way of showing God’s love. Too often the phrase “I’ll pray for you” is merely lip service, though. We say it in good faith, but by the time we get home we’ve forgotten. We plan to put someone on our prayer list and if we remember, we don’t drag out the list. If they are a close friend we might think about them and remind ourselves to pray, perhaps even saying a quick prayer then. I wonder if we really understand the power of prayer. Perhaps I should say “I” instead of “we” here because this may not describe you at all. I wonder though, if I really understood the power of prayer if I would say those words so glibly and without meaning.
As Jesus was preparing to go to the cross He prayed for us. He prayed for His disciples and He prayed for us. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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.” He prayed for those who would follow the message proclaimed by the disciples to live in unity and to be one with the Father. If Jesus prayed for us to be united, why don’t Christians live in unity? It would be easy to say that His prayer wasn’t answered. At the same time, perhaps Jesus understood that this was a necessary prayer since He had already seen that the disciples had problems with this issue. Perhaps we should note that Jesus had also prayed that the Father would protect them from the evil one. In countries where persecution springs up, the divisions we see in the church disappear. That unity one form of protection from the evil one since even death is preferable to surrendering to the evil one – the one who can kill the soul. The unity we are to have is a unity in Christ that goes across ethnic lines, lines of economic status, denominational lines and the lines set up by nationality.
What responsibility do Christians have when it comes to this prayer of Jesus? I think we need to recognize this prayer as including the desires of Jesus and make unity with fellow believers an important priority. We have our differences, but none of them compares with the unifying truth that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins and conquered death by His resurrection. When we think about that, shouldn’t all the petty differences fade away?