31 Days of Prayer for One Thing


Back on the first of this month, I said I’d be praying for the Body of Christ in one area: unity. Today ends my last day of praying for this daily. I’m sure it will continue to be a concern I raise periodically, but I’m moving on and letting this lie fallow for a bit.

Since the beginning of the year, I’ve written numerous times on the issue of disunity within the Body of Christ. Sadly, I think we are becoming more disconnected rather than less. TeamworkAnd before anyone claims that I’m just another of those mamby-pamby ecumenists, I just want to say that I’m a firm believer in solid doctrine and disciplining those who pursue “another gospel.”

That said, much of the Christian discourse I’ve seen lately on the Web isn’t Christian and it isn’t discourse. It’s more of an attempt by some of us to be right all the time, even if we have to savage others to do it. What I don’t see much of is an attempt to restore the wayward. Branding someone with a noxious tag is easy; restoring them to a place of wholeness and firmness in Christ is vastly harder.

It’s the nature of the Internet to be impersonal. I can think of no better place for someone to be an anonymous voice crying in the wilderness. But faceless prophesying isn’t the model that the Bible upholds for us; people faced their accusers and were restored to them in person. That’s a gutsier model than the one we uphold out in the frigid fringes of the Internet, a place where—as the old New Yorker cartoon goes—no one knows you’re a dog.

I started this month with a thirty-year old song (based on Psalm 133) by Rick Ridings that I used to sing as a much younger man. Here are the words again:

Father, make us one,
Father, make us one,
That the world may know
Thou hast sent the Son,
Father, make us one.

Behold how pleasant and how good it is
For brethren to dwell in unity,
For there the Lord commands the blessing,
Life forevermore.

Life forevermore. The world is dying to have what we Christians so easily take for granted, yet how poorly we model the unity that makes it possible for the world to believe. Instead of the open hand of God, we’ve become hidden snipers. I’m not saying we should abandon good doctrine, but neither should we so patently ignore the log in our own eye. All too often, the speck in our brother’s eye is made out to be an oak, while our own sequoia goes left unattended.

I think we can still point out error and retain unity. But the condition for this is to correct with a greater acknowledgment of our own failings and with a greater heart toward restoring the wayward. If we bludgeon them to death first, our path to restoring them is made that much more difficult.

Father, make us one.