When we become apart of God’s family, it is essential that we be in unity with each other. In fact, the Bible says that those who are believers are all apart of the body of Christ. This means we are apart of the same family and unified in him.
In order to walk out in unity with other believers, we have to believe that we are unified in Christ. If there is a sense of disunity, we can pray to be walking in love and living in the Spirit. We can look to Jesus’ prayer for unity, and pray according to his will.
In this blog post, we’ll get a look into the heart of what Jesus says about unity for the body of Christ, as well as give example prayers you can pray for unity with other believers.
Jesus’ Prayer for Unity
Jesus lifted his voice up to heaven as recorded in the gospel of John. It is the only long, continuous prayer of Jesus recorded in the gospels.
This gives us an opportunity to get a look into the nature and heart of Jesus by looking at his prayer to the Father.
- Jesus asks for God to be glorified and speaks in the source and nature of eternal life.
- Jesus prays for his disciples (“keep them in my joy, away from the evil one,” he asks), and prays that they be sanctified.
- Jesus continues the prayer for his disciples, showing us how deeply he cares for his followers, and ends his prayer to all believers.
His desire is seen that all believers be as one like Jesus is one with the Father.
I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.
The glory that you have given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, in them and you in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.John 17:21-22
When Jesus speaks we can see the co-equality of him speaking with the Father. He is not seeking to bend the Father to him; rather he is voicing the purpose of the Godhead.
Father, I desire that they also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory that you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known,
that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”John 17:24-25
This is all for the purpose of seeing God’s glory in the Son, and that the love of the Father may abide in us (the same love that God has for his Son, would be in us).
Overall, we can see this prayer of Jesus pouring out his heart to God, praying that the body of believers be in unity, as one, as the Father is with the Son.
Prayer for Unity of Beliefs
Part of the unity Jesus declares for us, for his believers, is that we are in unity with our beliefs – in our minds. Paul also declares this in 1 Corinthians.
I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.1 Corinthians 1:10
When Paul was writing to the church at Corinth, he was deeply concerned about the spiritual health of the Corinthian church.
This church was deprived of his guidance for several years.
As a result, Paul corresponded at greater length with the Corinthian church than with any of the other communities that he established. He immediately begins to list and address the problems that plagued that church.
Paul Disagreed With Church Members Labeling Themselves
The first problem he addressed was the disunity caused by the church members labeling themselves.
Paul heard that the Corinthian church has divided itself according to the various preachers of the gospel. In 1 Corinthians 1, he explains how they were being divided. “Each of you says, ‘I belong to Paul,’ or ‘I belong to Apollos,’ or ‘I belong to Cephas,’ or ‘I belong to Christ’” (1:12).
The believers were labeling themselves under people, not under God.
The faithful should put aside their small differences and remember that “all things are yours. . . . you belong to Christ, and Christ belongs to God” (3:23).
Paul Explains Believers Should Be Seen As Servants Of Christ.
Paul explains that each preacher of the gospel is merely a servant of Jesus and that all believers should be united as one in Christ. It is not about being under Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, but being under God – the trinity, the three in one.
The place of the preachers is not to establish themselves as leaders among men; instead, “people should think of us as servants of Christ” (4:1).
When all believers view ourselves as servants of Christ, this does not mean that any is higher than another and we shouldn’t label ourselves under anyone, but Christ united in him.
All Christians are united in the truths of the gospel.
We can know there is one body and one Spirit.
Just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.Ephesians 4:5
Through Jesus’ death, resurrection, and accession into heaven, the gospel is complete.
When the Holy Spirit convicts us, us turning from our old way of thinking to the ways of Christ, we can have the same mind as one another.
It is not about us labeling ourselves under certain pastors, missionaries, denominations, or churches, it is about us knowing the truth that we belong to God as servants of him.
We Have Unity Because Of What We Share In Common.
In Jesus, we share one body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one Father. Each of these common areas is greater than any potential difference.
When we keep the main thing the main thing, little differences shouldn’t be that big of an issue. It is more about us being under God, and when we are all under God believing in the gospel, the Bible says we have unity – it is just us acknowledging that and walking it out.
An Example Prayer For Unity Of Beliefs:
Lord, help our unbelief, help us who do struggle with knowing truth. May we know the gospel and the power of it being sealed in us. Once we know the gospel, may we walk out in unity with other believers, being united in You. Help us recognize we have one mind and are one like you are with the Father. In Jesus’ name may we do your will and glorify your name, Jesus.Amen.
Prayer For Unity Of Love
In the New Testament book of Colossians, we can see that it explains that above all put on love which binds everything together in perfect unity.
And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.Colossians 3:14
The Lord Equips Belivers To Serve
It is not about us being good enough to serve. In fact, sometimes God uses those who might seem the least qualified to serve.
God gives certain gifts to believers, some might have the gift of faith or the gift of healing, God might give the gift of prophecy or the gift of teaching to a believer. We don’t all have the same exact gifts.
This is so that we can work together, and use what God has given us, to build up the body of Christ.
And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds, and teachers, to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood,
to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes.-Ephesians 4:11-13
God equips us, so we might be unified in our faith and in knowing the Son. Our knowledge of Christ and unity in faith brings maturity to the body of Christ.
God desires that we grow in maturity.
We are to grow in maturity so we can know what is good doctrine, and what is false doctrine.
God doesn’t want us to be easily swayed from one way of thinking to another like little children can be easily swayed. He wants us to recognize deceitful schemes and to be firm in our knowledge and foundation of Christ.
We are to grow, speaking the truth in love, with the whole body of Christ growing together. Ephesians 4 says…
Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.Ephesians 4:15
When the body of Christ, believers, know the truth, and know their roles and gifting, equipped by Christ, everything works together, making the body of Christ grow being built in love.
As Christians, we are to have longsuffering, bearing with one another. Chrysostom defined longsuffering as the spirit that has the power to take revenge but never does. It is characteristic of a forgiving, generous heart.
We should be endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. This means being humble and having a forgiving attitude towards each other, which naturally fulfills the gift of the unity of the Spirit.
An Example Prayer For Unity Of Love
Lord, help the church to endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit you have already given us believers. Help us to be humble forgiving one another in love. May we work together, being unified in your love, growing in love. Thank you for equipping us to serve. May we glorify you in all that we do.Amen
Prayer for Unity of Mission
The Lord reminds believers of our calling and mission. We are to be united in this.
As humans, we have no greater calling but to walk out what God calls us to.
We need to walk worthy (having or showing the qualities or abilities) that the God of the universe himself, has given and equipped us with.
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.Ephesians 4:1
We should not hide our gifts and callings, but use them eager to continue the unity of the Spirit we have with other believers through the bond of peace.
There is one body and one Spirit – just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.
A worthy walk before God will be marked by lowliness and gentleness, not a pushy desire to defend our own rights and advance our own agenda. It is about being grateful to be apart of doing the Lord’s work.
Before Christianity, the word lowliness always had a bad association with it. In the minds of many, it still does, but it is a glorious Christian virtue (Phillipains 2:1-10).
It means that we can be happy and content when we are not in control or steering things our way.
This is not the norm for any human. Most people spend their whole lives seeking out what they want to – how they want to live. As Christians, we don’t have to fret, because God already tells us his mission and end goal.
We can rejoice in knowing what God calls us to.
We must endeavor to keep this unity – we do not create it. God never commands us to create unity among believers. He has created it by his Spirit; our duty is to recognize it and keep it.
This is a spiritual unity, not necessarily a structural or denominational unity. It is evident in the quick fellowship possible among Christians of different races, nationalities, languages, and economic classes.
Example Prayer For Unity Of The Mission:
Lord, help every believer to walk out the calling you have for us. May we be unified in our unique giftings and abilities you have given us to work together to glorify you.
May our goal in life be to live out being your servant, doing your work in love. Help humble us, and forgive us when we make mistakes.
May everything we do be done in love, equip us for spreading your word to every tribe and tongue, and may we be examples for you.Amen
Lastly, you could cancel out any disunity you may be feeling with any particular believers you have in mind. The enemy wants to bring division, confusion, and frustration, so we give up the calling God has for us.
Pray against the enemy, and for God’s Spirit to abide in us.
Dear Father, I pray against any confusion, division, and frustration, that may be going on within the body of Christ (or within another specific believer).
I say no in Jesus’ name to anything that is not of you or anything that is trying to hide the truth. I ask in Jesus’ name that your light shine so bright that it cancels out any darkness.
I ask that your Holy Spirit come in and work in this situation bringing clarity in Jesus’ name.Amen.
If you have never prayed for unity within the body of Christ before, I encourage you to do it now.
Ask the Lord to remind you and other believers that we are united and that nothing can separate us from his love. It is just about remembering who we are in Christ and canceling any lies we might believing of the enemy.
Start today, and pray for your fellow believers to work together in peace for the glory of God.