In the Gospels, often we see Jesus going to a secluded place to spend time with the Father in prayer. We are blessed to have some of the prayers of Jesus recorded in the Holy Scriptures. He prayed at the tomb of Lazarus in John 11. He prayed a prayer of thanks in Matthew 11. We also see Him talking to the Father on the Cross. But one of the most intimate prayers our Lord prayed was in the Garden of Gethsemane. Moments before His arrest, Jesus’ humanity was on display as He poured His heart out to the Father.
This prayer of Christ is recorded in all four Gospels. He prayed for several things, including God’s will, even at His expense. But He also prayed for you and for me:
“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, I 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 17:20-23
He prayed that His followers would be one.
This week, the Southern Baptist Convention had its annual meeting in Tennessee, and there was much division within the denomination on several major issues. Unfortunately, I believe it’s a reflection of many of our churches today. While your church may not be arguing over critical race theory, you may be divided on whether the pastor should wear a tie. Or if a TV should replace a projector. Or what color a particular classroom should be. There have even been (and still are) divisions regarding the wearing of facial masks in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yes, there are some things we need to be divided over, especially when truth is being compromised, but the color of the carpet isn’t one of them. Out of the countless things that Jesus could have prayed for in the Garden, He prayed that you and I would be one, just as He and God the Father are one.
The Apostle Paul built off of that truth in Ephesians 4:2-6, which says,
“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. 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.”
I could give you a typical 3-point sermon outline on how we could accomplish unity within the Body of Christ—but as we move on through the month and the year, let’s simply pray: Lord, help me be patient with my brothers and sisters. Enable me to keep the spirit of peace within the body and help me be a peacemaker for You today, and every day. Amen.
Here are some additional prayer bullet points to petition the “Prince of Peace” in the days ahead:
Praise and Thank God
- Praise God for religious liberty in the United States. Thank God that the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled to allow religious adoption agencies to block LGBTQIA foster parents.
- Thank God for those parents and clergy members who are boldly speaking out against Critical Race Theory and SB 818.
- Thank God for the exceptionalism of our nation.
- Praise God for our First Amendment rights to freely exercise our religious beliefs, our right to assemble, our right to free speech, our right to peaceably assemble, and our right to petition the government when they move in the wrong direction. May we utilize these freedoms for the spread of the Gospel and for His glory and honor.
- FOR THOSE IN AUTHORITY: For the next several weeks, please pray for the political leaders listed below. Of course, this includes praying for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris and those who serve in their administration.
- U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-Washington)
- U.S. Senator John Thune (R-South Dakota)
- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Illinois)
- U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer (D-Maryland)
- U.S. Representative Steve Scalise (R-Louisiana)
- State Senator Kimberly Lightfoot (D-Chicago)
- State Senator Sue Rezin (R-Morris)
- State Representative Jaime Andrade (D-Chicago)
- State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield)
- YOUR local County Board Members
Pray for the Sanctity of Life:
- ABORTION: The Chicago Tribune reported late last month that the abortion rate increased almost 10 percent in one year. We know that the passage of taxpayer funding of abortion through Medicaid has played a significant role in this increase. Illinoisans now pay for the destruction of innocent human life through the full nine months of pregnancy for any reason. This includes thousands of victims who travel from out of state to Illinois’ abortion mills. We must pray for these women who are facing a crisis pregnancy. May they find and embrace life affirming options. Yet we should also pray for those who work at these abortion facilities. Pray for the Holy Spirit’s conviction to leave the evil work they are doing. Pray that these facilities are not able to fill employment slots and that they would close down.
- PRC’s: Pray that pregnant mothers and fathers would seek help and counsel from pregnancy care centers to guide and help them through their unexpected pregnancy. Pray that they would choose to do what’s right for their child and not what’s convenient for themselves. Pray for the women who are being manipulated and/or bullied into an abortion. Pray that they would see a way to escape the pressure to kill their baby.
Pray for Families:
- THE CHURCH: Pray that church leaders would grasp the seriousness of the indoctrination taking place in government schools. Pray that their eyes would be opened to the parents in their church being overwhelmed with worry as a result of the teaching of godless ideologies and radical activism, resulting in hatred for America. Pray that churches in Illinois would start their own schools. Pray that God would provide the necessary resources and personnel for these schools.
- STUDENT WELFARE: Government schools are determined to instill godless radical ideologies into impressionable young children. Children will be sexualized beginning in kindergarten now that SB 818 has passed in the Illinois General Assembly. While it may seem unlikely, please pray that Gov. JB Pritzker would veto this bill when it arrives on his desk in the next few weeks.
- Children are being taught positively about homosexuality and cross-sex impersonation in many schools and school districts across the state. Now with new teaching standards having been approved by our state lawmakers, the Illinois Board of Education will be mandating that teachers be instructed in radically divisive Critical Race Theory, the 1619 Project and BLM activism. They intend to have these controversial topics taught in classrooms in every part of the state.
- PARENTS & GRANDPARENTS: Pray that both parents and grandparents would pool resources and do whatever they can to provide a way for their children and grandchildren to escape the radical extremism in government schools to follow Proverbs 22:6: “Train up a child in the way he should go …”
- FAMILIES AS SALT AND LIGHT: Pray that families who profess to know Jesus would spend more time discipling their children and raising them to fear the Lord, which is the beginning of wisdom. Children are a blessing from God and our greatest treasure on earth. We must treat them as such.
And do not be afraid of those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul;
but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.