J.E. Eubanks, Jr writes:
“One of Jesus’ most frequent teachings was His desire for the unity of His followers. In fact, Jesus and the apostles make it clear that the primary way that the world will know the truth of the gospel of Christ is through our unity and love for one another. We should therefore make praying for the union of the church a priority and one of our most frequent petitions.”
Jesus did. ( John 17:22–23)
This is the theme of the second in a three part series by Eubanks, in ByFaith magazine. And it is a theme that resonates with me. I have often wished (and prayed) that our church would develop a more conscientious effort to pray for the health of the church, and not just focus primarily on the health of the individual members and a few peripheral friends.
In this article Eubanks both encourages and cautions his readers about praying for Christ’s Church:
“When we pray for unification, we must first look in the mirror and ask, “What must I pray for regarding my own failure to strive for unity with my brothers and sisters in Christ? How have I made it difficult for others to be united with me? How ought my union with Christ change my attitude, actions and heart toward others?”
“As we pray for the church to grow in oneness, we should consider our tendency to prioritize minor issues and our failure to allow major agreements to be places where we find singularity. We should pray that our hearts—and the hearts of believers everywhere—would be broken about our discord, that Christ would give us a capacity for love that would overcome minor distinctions and disagreements, and that He would reveal opportunities for unification and give us the necessary humility and bravery to pursue them.”
“We must pray for the solidarity of our leaders because they will lead us into either greater harmony or dissonance. Pray that they too would overcome pettiness and seek to be bound together more fully rather than highlight their distinctions. Pray that even their disagreements would be handled with love and humility and that unity might be preserved. Pray that Christ will use them as ambassadors throughout the worldwide church to cultivate togetherness as His return approaches.”
I appreciate Eubanks’ thoughts. I also suspect that incorporating these things in our local congregations would strengthen us immensely.
To read the entire article click: Ways We Can Pray for Christ’s Church
To read Part 1 in this series click: Partnering Thru Prayer