“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 17:20-21
Our quest for unity as believers does not begin in the halls of debate where human pride and will prevails and divides. No, it begins in an upper room round a table of fellowship and a basin of dirty water; it begins in imitation of the humility and brokenness of God as revealed in the prayers of Jesus, son of man son of God, pleading for the unity of all who would believe in Him as Lord and Christ. If our Lord began in the humility of prayer, why would we do any less?
If the proof of Jesus’ Messiahship to the world is the unity of all His believers, where is the effort and energy being spent to see it happen? It appears that our greatest opportunity for evangelism is through our unity in Christ as His followers. If this is true, where are the Christian leaders who have made this their passionate pursuit? Shouldn’t we be joining hands and bowing knees before the cross of our Redeemer and King and at least beginning with this prayer be unified? Why aren’t our public and private prayers continually echoing our Master’s plea for unity? Before we have another gospel meeting to win the world why don’t we insist on prayer meetings among ourselves begging God to forgive us of our pride and indifference and pleading with Him to make us one in Christ? Do we really believe in the power of prayer? Do we really want the prayer of our Lord and Savior to be answered? Do I love my God and my fellow man that much? Or should I say, that little? The absence of our prayers for His divine intervention betrays our feeble desire for His will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven regarding unity.
The undeniable example of our Lord reveals that unity is of divine origin. It begins in heaven within the perfect unity of the Trinity. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are the source of our inspiration and power to attain the same; both with our God and ourselves. Prayer is the conduit to the divine power of heaven and the will of God. Prayer positions us before the cross and enables us to humbly receive the grace, power and wisdom of God that will bring about the unity we have so far failed to attain:
I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints. – Ephesians 1:16-18
Perhaps by uniting first in the humility of prayer, God will forgive our arrogance and divisiveness and open our eyes to the error of our ways, whether in doctrine, deed or attitude. Who knows what degree of unity is awaiting us if we will prayerfully humble ourselves in expectation of the Spirit’s power to enlighten our eyes and soften our hearts?
We have failed our Father far too long. Our failure has prolonged His anguish and delayed, obstructed, or I fear, even prevented the redemption of our fellow man. There is not another minute to waste. To some, the walls between the “children of God” appear insurmountable. But if the prayer of Jesus is to be answered, it must begin in the humility of our prayers. Who among us that claims to be His disciple will begin to beat the doors of heaven until by His power we are brought to complete unity?
“I in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.” -John 17:23
“May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another in accord with Christ Jesus that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” -Romans 15:5-6