Jesus’s Prayer for Unity

Author: Jonathon Baker — Host: Emily TenterPosted on: June 22, 2022

My heart aches for unity in the church. I see so many divisions—Christians disregarding each other, judging, shaming, excluding and I feel powerless. Unity seems impossible. One day I shared my feelings with my church small group, and then one of my friends shared John 17:20-26. In this passage, Jesus was sharing the Passover meal with His disciples, a hodge-podge group of fishermen, tax collectors, political radicals you get the picture. Jesus knew that in mere hours, one of them would betray Him, another would deny Him, and the rest would abandon Him. So, what did Jesus do? He prayed for them. And not just for the people who were following Him that day, but also for everyone who would believe in Him in the future. That includes us. It brings tears to my eyes when I realize Jesus prayed for us, for me, thousands of years before we were born. He knew us even then. He knew that we would all betray Him, deny Him, and run away from Him and yet He loved us (Ephesians 1:4-6). When Jesus prayed for us, He prayed that we would be unified, that we would be one like Jesus and God the Father are one. Wow. When I look at the hodge-podge group of people who make up the church, many who I don’t agree with or even understand (and who don’t agree with or understand me), who have opposing perspectives on politics, how to interpret Scripture, and how to love others well—I think, “How could we possibly be unified?” But the freeing thing is, it’s not up to us to unify ourselves. God is the only one who can. And He wants to. He gives the Holy Spirit to those who’ve put their trust in Jesus, and the same Spirit empowers each of us to love and serve each other like Jesus loves and serves us. Unity in the church is possible because God’s love is stronger than anything. Jesus’s death on the cross and resurrection from the dead have covered over every wrongdoing, every offense, everything that separates us from God and each other. We will experience complete unity when Jesus returns, and it will be beautiful. But I believe we also get to experience some of that unity here and now as we live in God’s love. My friend from small group told us she’d begun reading John 17:20-26 daily and praying Jesus’s prayer along with Him. So, I started doing the same thing. As I read, I am agreeing with Jesus’s prayer, agreeing with what God wants to do, and asking Him to do it. • Hannah Howe • Where have you seen unity or disunity in the church? Consider taking a moment to pray. “I pray also for those who will believe that all of them may be one ” John 17:20b-21a (NIV)


Read Verses:

Romans 15:5-Romans 15:7; 1 Corinthians 12:4-1 Corinthians 12:14; John 17:20-John 17:26