John 17:20-23 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Prays for All Believers
20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
I feel like I was raised with an US versus THEM mentality. My wife, Cindy, was raised Catholic. I was raised Presbyterian. I felt like they were the enemy. Even though we worshiped the same God, somehow the Presbyterian God was better & (to use a word from pastor’s dictionary) Righter than the Catholic God. I was even able to bring Cindy over from the “wrong” side.
Then I came to Point of Grace. It is Lutheran, but you have to really look to find the name Lutheran anywhere around this church. My pastor at my old Presbyterian church even tried to talk me out of going to Point of Grace when I moved north because there were plenty of “good” Presbyterian churches in the area. I even got on the management team at Point of Grace & felt like we were competing with other churches in the area over people & their finances because we needed them & their money for “our” church.
But over time pastor has brought me over to the idea that we (all churches) are united under the idea of One Lord, One Church, One Calling. Then, I am given these verses to write about. Alright already-I get it! I may be stubborn, & slow to change but I’m not dumb (some might argue with that).
In these verses Jesus prays for the unity of the church, that all believers unite under 1 great worldwide church. Three times in these short verses, Jesus says that we will be One United Church of God! Whether we are Catholic, Presbyterian, Lutheran or Pflugerville Community Church, we are united under 1 GOD with 1 purpose-to make disciples.
Wow, we are One in Christ. We are loved by God so much that HE sent His Son to die for our (all of us no matter what church we attend) sins. HE loves me the same as he loves Jesus! If that doesn’t make me feel special- All that HE asks in return is to believe in Him & make believers out of all that I come into contact with.
I think I can handle that-Can You?
Father in Heaven,
I pray that out of Your glorious riches you would strengthen ________ with power through Your Spirit in _______ inner being, so that Christ may dwell in ________ heart through faith. And I pray that _______, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all Your holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – that _______ may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Amen.