God’s Spirit leads us to pray for people and situations. Prayer reminds us of God’s power and that He, “…can do immeasurably more than we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,….” (Ephesians 3:20) We must never believe that prayer is a “last resort” after we have tried everything else. Prayer is where we should begin. As A.W. Tozer once observed, “Prayer is never the least we can do, it is always the most!”
We know Jesus prayed. He withdrew from people for times of conversation with the Father. The Bible tells us that Jesus prayed before calling the twelve disciples. “…Jesus went out to a mountainside to pray, and spent the night praying to God. When morning came he called his disciples to him and chose twelve of them, whom he also designated apostles.” (Luke 6:12-13)
We also know that Jesus prayed after the Last Supper on the night of his arrest. His memorable words are found in John 17. It was a prayer that expressed itself in three ever-widening circles. Our Lord prayed for himself, for the disciples, and then for all who would later follow Jesus. The last circle is when Jesus prayed for us.
We read that Jesus prayed for us to be “one.” “‘…I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 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 17:20-21) Our “oneness” helps the world believe in Jesus! Kent Hughes wrote, “The nature of the unity for which the Saviour prayed comes from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and grows as we scale the slopes to God, through an apostolic faith, by being rooted and strengthened in His Word. We are never closer to one another than when our hearts are genuinely focused on God.” Clearly Jesus desired for His followers to be united in our service to God. He prayed for our unity.
We often think about God answering our prayers, but do we ever think about how our lives may be an answer to the prayer of Jesus? In recent months I’ve been inspired by witnessing believers in our area from different denominations who have come together in the Spirit to pray for our nation and our community. In unity we pray for God’s power to prevail in the lives of people, leading them away from violence and drugs, to a life filled with the fruit of the Spirit.
Prayer is an amazing avenue to unity among believers. When we pray together we remind ourselves that we’re in a battle against dark forces which would divide and conquer us. In prayer we resolve to unite against the true enemy and not live in conflict with one another. In the words of E.M. Bounds, “God shapes the world by prayer. The more prayer there is in the world the better the world will be, and the mightier will be the forces against evil.” May we pray often with one another, and in our spiritual unity, may we become the answer to Jesus’ prayer for us!
Pastor Ken Atchison
All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com