Jesus prays for the unity of His body, the Church
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one”. John 17:20
Jesus prays that we will “become completely one” (John 17:23). He knows that, through our faithful and united witness, this will make the Gospel more readily believed. In contrast, church history demonstrates that disunity makes the Gospel harder for people to hear.
Let me tell you a story. Recently, I was invited into a virtual international meeting of the group Focolare, with the theme “Dare to be one!”
With a charism of unity, this unity group traces their origins to a young girl in war-torn Italy. This girl, Chiara Lubich, gathered with friends to read the Bible and found her calling as they read the above passage in John 17.
This story is representative of the way renewal often comes to the Church: A faithful soul, in this case Lubich, reads the living Word of God and finds its vocation. This person’s vocation is then honoured by God through thick and thin!
God’s grace – and Chiara’s faithfulness to her call – has led to a movement for unity that, more than seventy years later, brought people from every continent together in a virtual gathering. (It was late at night for me, but I felt less sleepy when folk from the USA told me they were up at 4 am to join in!)
On that Zoom call, our conversation revolved around the importance of our unity (or, more precisely, our reconciled diversity).
In my role as President of the National Council of Churches in Australia (NCCA), I see many instances in which the Holy Spirit encourages our unity in a dangerously divided world.
The leaders of the Days of Prayer and Fasting have become friends on this same journey (thanks be to God).
Inevitably, our unity demands that we bend a little towards each other, much as the figures in Rublev’s famous icon of the Holy Trinity bend towards each other.
So, then, the cross of one believer is our cross to carry too; the joy of one is a joy we share; the longings of one are our longings too!
Thus, together – as the saints convey – we humbly trust that God always has more to teach us, and we always have more to learn!
This movement of the Spirit is showing us that our deeper unity is needed for the healing of many divisions.
One of our Focolare friends gets ready each morning by saying to himself: “today I want to meet Jesus”. As the people and the circumstances of the day unfold – both the expected and unexpected – he prays as constantly as he can.
“Abide in me”, Jesus says to us in John 15. This command applies to each and every day!
Jesus is our unity. The way forward is for each of us to stay as close to Jesus as we can. Then we must practise the discipline of asking ourselves “will this action build unity?”
Dear Jesus, you pray in us “may they all be one”.
We ask for your abiding grace, so your prayer in us is what people see in our daily living.
Dear Jesus, may our unity make the Gospel easier for people to hear.
We seek your discernment so that we can see how better we might be messengers of reconciliation.
Dear Jesus, may your healing power keep making us whole.
We hear the cry for love of those upon the earth with us now.
As we listen, so we now pray – “Jesus have mercy”.
Dear Jesus, these prayers and all that is in our hearts, some of it still making its way into words, we gather in your holy name.
31 Days Prayer Points
- Pray for the restoration of FAMILY, FATHERHOOD and MOTHERHOOD in our nation. Malachi 4:6
- Pray for healing for MARRIAGES, protection for CHILDREN and restoration of the sanctity of LIFE. Isaiah 58:12
- Pray for Revival, Renewal and Reformation for Australia, that our nation might return to God. 2 Chronicles 7:14
We invite you to support this month-long Prayer & Fasting campaign to raise up prayer for Family and Nation. Every donation to the Canberra Declaration helps us spread the word and make a stand for Family, Faith, Freedom and Life.
Donate Here: https://canberradeclaration.org.au/donate/
Register Now: https://canberradeclaration.org.au/prayer-for-family-2021/ to receive the daily devotions by email.
Join us for our daily one-hour Zoom prayer call:
DATES: 1st– 31st October 2021
TIME: 8PM AEDT
ZOOM URL LINK: https://zoom.us/j/776881184
ZOOM MEETING ID: 776881184
ZOOM TUTORIAL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFhAEoCF7jg