“They all met together and were constantly united in prayer…” (Acts 1:14a NLT)
Unity on some level isn’t difficult to achieve. People unite under all kinds of banners, from politics to sports; from workout plans to diets; from rights to wrongs. But, ironically, the Church really struggles to get some measure of unity.
Why do you think there are so many churches in any given city? And many of them are of the same group! Churches often split, “believers” go from one fellowship and find or start another one, often not based on Biblical protocol or doctrinal differences, but based on personal preference.
Church fellowships have parted ways because they didn’t like the color of the new carpet, their beloved paneling got painted over, or they didn’t get re-elected to “their” position on the board. Why? Because we want what we want, when we want it, and we’ll leave if we don’t get our way. God’s will is too often forced to take a back seat to our will.
It often takes a tragedy or a literal move of God to get the people of God to unite under a banner of His choosing. After Jesus was resurrected and ascended back to heaven, the small band of Christ followers were frightened. The Romans had killed Jesus, their “Leader,” what will stop them from coming after them?
So, they all huddled together on the day of Pentecost, but when the Holy Spirit was given, they were filled and empowered and sent out to share the good news about Jesus with Jews from every nation. That unprecedented day resulted in the growth of the Church from 120 to over 3,000 in one day. The rapid expansion of their group led to the formation of a community of believers that focused on “the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer.” (Acts 2:42 NLT)
Prayer to those new believers wasn’t an obligation, it was a divine privilege. And when they prayed, God showed up in powerful and profound ways. People were healed and saved every day. The believers still struggled and, over time, began to suffer persecution, but their faith remained strong, and they kept their course.
What’s so different today? In many parts of the world, not so much. But in America and in other affluent societies, we lack unity largely because we lack devotion to the Biblical focus of unity – Jesus! Believers who understand their lives are dependent upon faithfulness to God, are grounded in the gospel message of the Bible and in believing prayer.
Prayer isn’t begging God for a raise, a new car or house, or to help my child get into the best school. Their united efforts in prayer are for God to show up in power; to fill and empower them, not to do their own will, but God’s; not to fill their pockets, but their hearts with compassion and purpose, to enable them to please Him, not themselves.
Unity in prayer must be based on the truth of the Gospel, motivated by hearts filled with love of God and desire to see their loved ones, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, friends, and whomever else the Lord brings into their spheres of influence, come to a saving knowledge of Jesus before it’s eternally too late. Powerful prayer is led by the Holy Spirit, empowered by the Holy Spirit, enabled by the Holy Spirit, and dependent upon the Holy Spirit.
Submission to God’s Spirit puts us in a position of usefulness where our greatest concern isn’t what other people think, but only what God thinks. When all that motivates our actions is obedience to the leadership of God’s Spirit, the Church will multiply exponentially, our love for one another in the Body of Christ will be strengthened, those without Christ will be saved, the angels will celebrate, and the God of Creation will be honored, glorified, and exalted.
Blessings, Ed 😊
One thought on “The Unifying Power of Prayer”
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