Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Prayer for Unity

Encouragement for your daily walk with God

While Jesus prayed just before His crucifixion, He knew, in advance, a particular challenge His followers would encounter. It’s a problem they still face today. He knew they would be attacked by predators from without and within. Some would work at wiping the memory of the Christian faith from the face of the earth. Others would worm their way into the church with deceptive teaching [heresies], to literally tear believers apart. He also knew that the mortal enemy of the faith, Satan, would “tempt them to despair.” So our blessed Savior prayed for them, and us as well, because He is the “faithful High Priest, touched by the feelings of our infirmities.” He asked the Father to protect His followers from the enemies, which threaten the unity of the saints. 

In this prayer, Jesus announced the source of our protection: the power of God’s name. Yes, there is power in the name of Jesus! I don’t mean to say that His name is a mantra that is superstitiously repeated to ward off evil. No, it is the gracious revelation of who God is, and what He can do — and what He has done!

When Satan accuses a saint, we find comfort in the Savior who forgives sin and removes the shame of guilt. When false teachers bring their disruptive, half-truth teaching into the church, we run to the Words of Christ in the Bible. There we find the truth that straightens out every lie. It’s the truth that unites all Christ followers to each other. And even when imminent death threatens to wipe out the faithful [as we have seen in recent attacks of those who name Christ as Lord], we cling to, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” [Matthew 5:10]. 

As God in human flesh, Jesus revealed to us the very nature of the invisible God [Colossians 1:15]. He came as a “babe, wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger,” so that we would know that God will do the impossible to reconcile man to Himself. He healed the sick to show us how much He cares for each of us. He died and rose again to seal our future hope of heaven. And He prayed that we — all who name Christ as Lord — would be united, one, just as He is with the Father.

Holy Father, protect them by the power of Your name—the name You gave Me—so that they may be one as We are one … 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 just as You are in Me and I am in You. John 17:11b; 20-21a

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