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Day 7: Intercession: Praying with Jesus for Unity

The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me.
 (John 17:22-23 NASB)

“If you’re not outraged, you’re not paying attention.”  These words apply to this passage better than any contemporary political circumstance.  What Jesus is praying for is so outrageous, it’s possible that we might simply gloss over it!  Let’s try to understand, first of all, what Jesus is really asking.

“Let them be one as we are one.”  Jesus, praying to His Father, is asking that His disciples would have the same kind of unity that the Father and the Son have.  Take note: He’s asking for Human Beings to be one among themselves as God is one with God.  

This prayer flies in the face of all our experience.  Have you had interactions with another human being lately?  Even interactions with Christians can be miles away from what Jesus requests, “one as we are one”.  This type of unity can only be described as supernatural and divine since it springs forth from the very inner life of the Trinitarian God.  In fact, to facilitate this unity, Jesus promises to give us “the glory that you [the Father] have given me.”  This unity is made possible only by the glory of Jesus resting on His people.  As we pray for Unity, a key prayer is for Jesus to release His glory over us.  It’s only in His glorious presence that we can be one.

“That the world may know that you sent me…”

 It should get our attention that Jesus is asking for us to be one as He and the Father are one.  We should also take note of when Jesus expects this prayer to be answered.  Jesus is asking that we would be one so that the world would know that you sent me.  In other words, He anticipates the answer to His prayer coming in this current era, before the eyes of people who do not know Him.  Jesus is not praying for us to “be one” in Heaven or after He has returned, He’s asking for us to be one now, in this age, in front of millions who do not know Him.

“That they may be perfected in unity…”

One final and crucial observation: Jesus gets what He asks for.  As we read the gospels, we see time and again: Jesus gets what He asks for.  Can we imagine the Father saying “no” to any of Jesus’ prayers, much less the prayer foremost on His heart as He steps to the cross?  We can rest assured that the Father is planning to answer this prayer in fullness.  We can depend on this: Jesus gets what He asks for, and that means His disciples demonstrate the unity He prays for in John 17; we will be “perfected in unity.”

Father, you’re planning to bring about supernatural and divine unity among your followers.  Would you pour out your glory on us, and allow us to be part of the answer to Jesus’ prayer?  Show us every way in which we are hindering our Lord’s dying wish, and tear down every wall to bring about the unity He longed for!

Jonathan Friz, Amherst, MA
10 Days National Coordinator