“My prayer is not for them alone. 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. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” John 17:20-23.
The Desire of Jesus’ Heart
If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, who and what would be most important to you? What would consume your thoughts and prayers? In John chapter 17, we get to see a beautiful glimpse into the heart of Christ and what His strongest thoughts and feelings were before He died.
The thoughts and prayers of Christ were focused on you and me. He prayed for all believers and knew before the world began who would choose to believe; Jesus knew your name and mine.
“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love, he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ.” (Ephesians 1:4-5)
Just hours before His crucifixion, Jesus prayed for all who would believe in the message of the gospel that would be spread by His disciples. His heart’s desire for those He knew and loved was unity among believers; He wanted us to be one (John 17:20-23).
He could have chosen to pray anything for us, but He determined to ask God to help us love one another and get along. Jesus knew that all the members of the body of believers are vastly different, not only in nationality and personality, but also in passions, gifts, and motivation.
We Christians worship and pray differently and hold tightly to our ideals about how we should live out our faith. However, it is the utmost desire of Christ for His people to love one another deeply, walk in humility, honor one another above ourselves, and find unity at the foot of the cross.
Love and unity are the way of the cross of Christ. Bitterness, unforgiveness, and hatred belong to the devil. He seeks to destroy the church and will go after any believers who give him a foot in the door of their relationships. We resist the devil when we choose to act toward other believers in humility and love. When we forgive or overlook the offense in the first place, we answer the prayer of Christ.
Can you hear the prayer of Jesus? Will you choose to answer?
Pray and ask Jesus to evaluate your relationships and show you any areas in which unity and love need to reign. Ask Him to help you love deeply.
Take the opportunity to teach your children about the last prayer of Jesus and share His heart for them: to be one in unity and love with each other and the body of Christ.
Teach your children how to practically love one another. In our home, we decorated two large jelly jars with ice cream stickers and labeled one “Marbles for Ice Cream” and the other the “Get Along Gang.” Set a certain number of marbles into the marble jar, and anytime the children say or do something kind, move one marble from the “Marbles for Ice Cream” jar to the “Get Along Gang” jar. When they are unkind, whether in word or deed, move it back. As soon they earn all of the marbles from the “Marbles for Ice Cream” jar, take the family out for ice cream or frozen yogurt. Take pictures and celebrate the love and unity in your family.[box type=”download”]
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