Do you remember as a youth – Unity was the topic of our papers, the subject of our speeches and the passion in our conversations. I miss the simplicity of those days. What happened to change it or caused it to take a back seat to life? We were going to Change the world!
Jesus Calls us to Live in Unity – it is a High Calling for All Disciples
John 17:20-23 “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. 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—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Then came real life with family and jobs – and with them came division.
Division and change come with each choice I make and are driven by the fast pace of life.
I rarely think about unity in my day-to-day until the media reminds me of our divisions or a church splits and the pain of it affects my life and family.
But God still desires Unity
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is
For brothers to dwell together in unity!
It is like the precious oil upon the head,
Coming down upon the beard,
Even Aaron’s beard,
Coming down upon the edge of his robes.
It is like the dew of Hermon
Coming down upon the mountains of Zion;
For there the Lord commanded the blessing—life forever.
Division hurts the Church – the Body of Christ
It is easy to be a church that is divided – because we are a people that are divided. We each have our own preferences, conviction, pasts that influence our lifestyles and on and on we could go.
Are you struggling to forgive the hurt in your life – maybe even the hurt by those in the church?
That is something I understand all to well. God took me through a process to find a Pathway to Forgiveness – it leads to Freedom! Can I share it with you?
But God reminds us we are One Body and need Unity.
Romans 12:4-5 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.
God can and does use our division for His glory. The enemy can also use it to quench the spirit and destroy our testimony – if we don’t handle it well.
Ephesians 4:1-3 Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
What breaks our Unity?
The problem with the dreams of our youth is that they depended upon us – Sainted Sinners – humans who fall short daily. Unity requires a community that is working together- setting aside the preferences of the individual in order to reach for the Kingdom of God!
Ephesians 4:11-13 And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ; until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.
In the study The Battle Plan for Prayer, The Kendrick Brothers make reference to the 4 D’s of the enemy uses to foster Disunity.
- The fast pace of our own lives distracts us and we miss the opportunities God presents us to love and support the Body.
- We believe the lies whispered to us about ourselves, our church and even God – and we are rendered ineffective for the battle.
- Each of us have a past – the enemy is quick to bring that past up convincing us we could never be used by the Father.
- Also we are quick to remember the faults of others in the body causing others to doubt and divide.
- We each have preferences – (how we worship, what color the carpet should be, how we share the gospel, when we take communion, etc.). We can be quick to assume that when things don’t go according to our preferences we can’t stay.
- Further when we are not happy about things we often voice our opinion (planting seeds of doubt in others) to others before we voice them to God.
God urges us to fight back against the enemy’s strategy. To Pray for Unity!
Philippians 1:27 Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;
Colossians 3: 12-13 So, as those who have been chosen of God, holy and beloved, put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience; bearing with one another, and forgiving each other, whoever has a complaint against anyone; just as the Lord forgave you, so also should you.
Now to be fair, it is okay to have Convictions, preferences and opinions about things. That is how God wired us and they can be a great catalyst for reform when directed in Unity.
We can and must Pray to have a spirit of Unity even when we disagree
Let’s take an example from the Old Testament.
In 2 Chronicles 30 things in Israel had gone badly again. The Israelites continually turned away from the Lord, followed the ways of the culture and fell into troubles.
God called them to return to celebrate the Passover and remember the how He had rescued them.
- It was hard
- Required sacrifice
- and they were mocked at for the attempt.
But we see that when a few men humbling themselves in obedience – God honored them and blessed the land.
:9 For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.
We serve the same God Today!
:12 The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the Lord.
We can turn to God, in prayer and He will give us One Heart – Unity.
The New Testament is also filled with examples of the Church disagreeing – sometimes well and other times there were broken relationships.
But They Never Stopped Pryaing for Unity
We know that Paul wrote letters as he prayed for the Church. We can pray as he did:
2 Corinthians 13: 11 Finally, brethren, rejoice, be made complete, be comforted, be like-minded, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
Romans 12:16 Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation.
Does Unity mean we will agree about everything?
Nope – we are still going to disagree about things. We can love, support and prayer for each other- even when we disagree.
1 Peter 3:8-9 To sum up, all of you be harmonious, sympathetic, brotherly, kindhearted, and humble in spirit; not returning evil for evil or insult for insult, but giving a blessing instead; for you were called for the very purpose that you might inherit a blessing.
What Happens if we Pray for Unity and things are still crazy?
There are some times in our personal lives and in the life of a Church that require us to reach deeper and Fast with our prayers.
Matthew 17:19-21 But this kind does not go out except by prayer and fasting
Y’all know my passion is Powerful, Strategic Prayer. So if you are praying for Unity but seeing no results, would you join me in a time of Fasting and Prayer?
Print them out and put them where you will be reminded to pray scripture.