Believers uniting together in prayer is so often what God uses to unleash great mission movements, including in our own day.
“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.”—John 17:21
In John 17, in which Jesus prayed for the last time with His disciples before His crucifixion, He had every right to focus on his impending suffering which would be terrible beyond belief. However, true to His nature, He rose above his own human fears to think about the welfare of his disciples and his followers of future generations.
What was it that He prayed for? He prayed for unity—that we might be one as He and the Father are one. Jesus knew that only if His disciples and future believers were one would we be successful in accomplishing the mission He has given us to make Him known around the world.
Of course, such unity is a supernatural thing, only possible by the presence and enabling of the Holy Spirit. We humans tend to divide at the drop of a hat, dwelling on what our differences are.
We compare ourselves and can split off from one another because of pride and feelings of superiority, thinking our doctrinal adherence or ministry practice surpasses that of other organisations and churches. Personality splits also exacerbate this phenomenon of division that has resulted in tens of thousands of separate denominations around the world.
We—as the Apostle Paul so brilliantly teaches—are part of this organism called the Body of Christ, and each of us has particular gifts that are meant to benefit one another.
Unless we exercise these gifts with the love and humility that comes out of the grace and power of the Holy Spirit, we are all impoverished, incomplete, and lacking. Only in that way of loving service to one another can we become one body rather than remaining a deformed or handicapped body.
Such loving unity is fostered through praying together. The early church quickly developed a culture of prayer, prompted by the command of Jesus that they should wait in Jerusalem. Acts 1:14 describes how they “all joined constantly together in prayer”. Great breakthroughs came out of this culture of prayer as can be clearly traced throughout the book of Acts.
The history of revivals and mission advances bear similar witness to the power of united prayer. Too often, we succumb to the mistaken idea that our activism is what will transform the world. But mission is actually a supernatural thing.
It requires God’s mighty moving to change hearts and societies that are in the grip of the ‘prince of this world’. The enemy and his spiritual forces of darkness enslave people in deceptive ideologies that bind and hinder humankind.
Over the last couple of decades, colleagues and I have found ourselves facilitating special prayer initiatives in the midst of awful, hopeless conflicts—especially in Africa, where there were 19 such conflicts raging in the mid-1990s and early years of this century.
Over and over again, we witnessed the Lord graciously bring about peaceful breakthroughs and the ending of these wars as His people confessed corporate sin, reconciled with one another, and then prayed in unity.
Remarkably, it was often the next day or in a few days that we felt the atmosphere shift and a peace process was then begun by the politicians and diplomats. In addition, spiritual revival or advances for the Gospel have often also attended such amazing changes.
For all of these reasons therefore, let us pray accordingly for ourselves and for the Go2020 prayer and outreach effort during this month of May and beyond.
Father, we pray that ministry leaders and all followers of Jesus will maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace—and we pray that Satan, the diabolos or one who divides, would be bound. Help us and others in Christ’s church to love one another as He has loved us. May we all experience a baptism of love in the Body of Christ.
We ask that increasingly, ministry leaders and all believers will pray together across denominational boundaries for their cities and communities in every nation. We ask that this unity of the Spirit in prayer will result in the greatest and most pervasive global spiritual revival ever.
And we seek you for the fulfilment of the Great Commission. Embolden and empower us to reach five lost people we know, as well as the remaining 5000 unreached people groups still without movements to Christ and little if any access to the Gospel.
We pray all of this in Jesus’ name. Amen.
31 Days Prayer Points
1. Pray for five people and share the Good News of Jesus with them.
2. Pray that God would use His people to reach one billion people this May.
3. Pray for an end to the coronavirus pandemic, both in Australia and globally.
John Robb is the Chairman for the International Prayer Council, and formerly led the prayer ministries of World Vision. He has previously served as a field missionary, pastor, seminary teacher, researcher, and author. He also serves on the National Prayer Committee for the United States, and is a member of the International Reconciliation Coalition.
We invite you to join the daily Zoom video 1 hour National Prayer Call every night:
DATES: 1st– 31st May 2020
TIME: 8pm-9pm AEST
ZOOM URL LINK: https://zoom.us/j/776881184
ZOOM MEETING ID: 776881184
Every Sunday night in May, we will have an extended Zoom call from 6pm-9pm AEST.
See Zoom tutorial here.
Daily devotions brought to you by the Canberra Declaration.