ONLINE CHURCH BULLETIN
Answer the Prayer of Jesus
A little fellow wished to pray but had never been taught how. He, thus, began to recite his ABCs as he knelt. A man passing by overheard the lad and inquired. "Son, what's going on?" "I'm saying my prayers," replied the boy. "But why the ABCs?" the man asked. "Sir," came the answer, "I don't know how to go about praying so, I thought if I said my ABCs God would take what he needed and spell out the words to match my wants." With childlike innocence, this little fellow believed in prayer.
Jesus also believed in prayer. In fact, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John compositely recorded several occasions where Jesus went apart to pray. For example, all of John 17 projects a prayer of Jesus which may be divided into four segments: (1) For Himself 1 7:1-5); (2) For the apostles ( 17:6-19); (3) For the church ( 17:20-23): and again, (4) For the apostles ( 17:24-26).
Let's focus on "Christ's prayer for the church" (17:20-23). "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word, that they may be one: as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them. and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one: and that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." This pulsates with a plea for harmony.
According to "Christ's prayer for the church, "harmony is a challenging possibility. He prayed that all who believe on him through the apostles' word might "be one ... be one in us .... be one ... be made perfect in one." In each of these petitions, the subjunctive mood of the Greek language was used, indicating an objective reality! Harmony among Christians is more than an illusive dream or noble sentiment. Encouragingly, it is a very real possibility. A case in point to prove such would be the first century church of Jerusalem (Acts 2:42, 44-46). They were united in their support of fearless Gospel preaching (4:24-29). They were united in their benevolent spirit and sacrificial care (4:32). They were also united in their support ofchurch discipline (5:1-12). By example, they established the possibility of harmony existing in the church.
Therefore, the subject of harmony among Christians should be approached with a positive attitude. When it comes to unity in the church, negative slurs ["Well, that sounds good," or "It would be nice," or "That is just youthful idealism"] should be CANNED. After all, success comes in CANS not CAN'TS! If Jesus' prayer for the church implied the possibility of harmony in the church, then, yes, it is a possibility. It is a possibility that must be obeyed.