It is hard to scroll through any social media site or watch the news without the constant reminder of division in our nation, states, and cities. Many of you experience division in your families in unimaginable ways. And unfortunately, there is division in our churches.
This is not how Christ designed the church. Jonathan Edwards says in An Humble Approach, “Union is spoken of in Scripture as the peculiar beauty of the church of Christ.” How beautiful it should be for those who follow Jesus to be unified. They are one. This is exactly one of the prayers Jesus lifted up for His followers in the upper room as He contemplated the cross and leaving them. He desired their unity. Look what Jesus prays:
“Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11).
“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. The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and loved them even as you loved me” (John 17:20-23).
In a world that is becoming increasingly fractured, the church of Jesus Christ will shine remarkably bright by living as “one body” (Eph. 4:4). How can this happen? I do not have time in one blog post to ponder how the body of Christ across our globe, let alone in the city I live, functions as “one body.” But allow me to offer one idea. Maybe one step towards living as “one body” is for us to unite in prayer together.
As he writes of the church uniting in prayer together, Edwards made this observation:
“Such a union in prayer for the general outpouring of the Spirit of God, would not only be beautiful, but profitable too. It would tend very much to promote union and charity between distant members of the church of Christ, to promote public spirit, love to the church of God, and concern for the interest of Zion; as well as be an amiable exercise and manifestation of such a spirit.”
Prayer unites. Praying together softens hearts. Praying with and for others changes how we feel about them. Our churches are so divided that we need to pray together.
Let me invite you again to such an opportunity. On June 5, our EveryEthne team is partnering with Stadia Church Planting to mobilize thousands of followers of Jesus in churches from around the United States and Canada to pray together for Church Planting in North America. We are asking you to come together and unite in prayer for Jesus to continue building his church.
Editor’s Note: Originally published on April 7, 2021. Dates were readjusted for the 2022 calendar.
There are billions of people around the world who don’t know Jesus. But how can you help? You can pray! Join us on June 5, 2022 to pray for healthy churches and church plants. We’re gathering a team across the US, and we need people like you! Will you join us?