Friday, August 11, 2023

Prayers that Unify

Friday, August 11, 2023

Prayers that Unify submitted by Kay Crumley


Our church has been in a season of transition for almost a year as our pastor of 24 years retired and we began the process of finding the lead pastor that God wants for usThe common theme throughout the entire process from selecting the search committee to the presentation of the potential candidate has been the since of unity within our church body. The search committee is composed of a wide age range which is reflective of A Church for Every Generation.  Their diligent efforts to prepare themselves by prayer, research, church input, and training enabled them to move into the process confidently.   

One comment heard from the search committee was that every group had very similar desires for the character and qualifications of the incoming lead pastorThat speaks to the unity of our church body that has been nurtured by all our leadersThis devotional will speak to the Biblical teaching from Jesus about the unity of the body of believers. 

John the Apostle wrote the Book of John for the sole purpose that we might believe in Jesus Christ as stated in John 20:31But these are written so that you may believe Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name. That belief in Him causes us to want to understand all His commands about how we live a life that is pleasing to HimThe chapters referenced in the title are mostly the words of Jesus spoken to His disciples at the Last Supper. The final time He had to give them the last lessons and guidance before His arrest, crucifixion, and resurrectionWe often cherish a loved one’s last words beyond others as they leave us with important thoughts that they want us to remember about them or advice for our future. How much more should we hold to the final teachings of Jesus


Chapter 13 describes the intimacy of the disciples reclining around the table with Jesus have a meal that may have lasted several hoursHe assured them of His unending love for them. He washed the feet of the disciples to teach them to be humble servantsHe identified the one who would betray HimHe knew what was to come in the following hours, so He prepared the disciples with His teachings. 

Chapter 14 is of Jesus encouraging them not to worry, don’t be troubled. He will leave them, but they will meet Him again as He is going to prepare a place for them in His Father’s house where they will dwell with Him and God’s family eternally. 

Chapter 15 the Master Gardner, God, is tending the Vine, Jesus, from who the branches, believers, are growingThe Father is taking care to keep the branches healthy and strong as He prunes away the damaged parts and lifts to place on a rock the branches that are drooping toward harmHe cares for His own in the most careful loving way we can imagine. 

Chapter 16 is the introduction of the Holy Spirit, the Advocate, the Counselor that Jesus will send to teach and to declare truth to His disciplesJesus will no longer physically be on earth with these men, but He is not leaving them alone. The Holy Spirit can be with each of them everywhere they are all the timeHe lives in each believer.   

Jesus begins His prayer in Chapter 17. He prayed to the Father on behalf of Himself and His followers. His greatest desire is expressed in verse 11 I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to You. Holy Father, protect them by Your name that You have given Me, so that they may be one as We are one.  That we be one, unified in Christ. It is reminiscent of the unity in the Garden of Eden where everything worked together perfectly in peaceThat is the Hebrew word shalom which communicates the idea of wholeness, flourishing, delight, and harmony. Jesus prayed for those disciples in John 17:20-23 but also for all future disciples, He prayed for YOU and MEI pray not only for these, but also for those who believe in Me through their message. May they all be one, as You, Father, are in Me and I am in You. May they also be one in Us, so the world may believe You sent Me. I have given them the glory You have given Me. May they be one as We are one. I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me.  In these five verses of Jesus final prayer over His disciples and future disciples I have underlined 5 phrases where He states that we should be one in HimUnity is what will make us different from the worldUnity is what will cause others to believe in HimJesus prayed that we would be one, we are participating to bring it to reality, we are bringing kingdom harmony into the worldOur oneness is bringing heaven to earth. 

Kristi McLelland, “When You Pray” Bible study, explains that one core characteristic of shalom is harmonyWe are greater as oneWe are better in our diversity with one purposeA bouquet of only red roses is pretty but a bouquet with a wide variety of different flowers is beautifulOur diversity united as one is what will bring glory to the Father.  


Pray that harmony, shalom, will prevail as we move into the next season of our church and that oneness with the Father through Jesus Christ will be our common goal. 



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