Heavenly Father, we come before you to magnify and glorify your name. We, as the body of Christ, give you all the praise and honour you deserve. Help us all to unite and and pray together as a congregation, for we know where two or more are gathered in your name, you are with us, Oh Lord.
Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them.
Rom 15:5,6 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be like-minded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: That you may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Bless us, Oh Divine Father, to find unity with each other, to work together to deliver your word. For we know man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
May we be a blessing to others, as we strive to be more like Jesus, Oh Loving Father; kind, caring, compassionate, loving, giving, forgiving and humble.
Eph 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another.
Oh Lord, as we work together to build your empire, let us be the light that leads the world to you. God, teach us to be good role models to the people around us, so that when they see you and your love within us, they would want to know you more and more.
Grant us the patience to work together. Bring us all together as a family. Let us work together with understanding and compassion in our hearts. Let us not be rude or arrogant towards one another, as we light the way to your heavenly kingdom.
Read also Praying for Family Unity
Mark 11:24 Therefore I say unto you, What things soever you desire, when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you shall have them.
Eph 4:31, 32 Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice. And be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
We declare in the name of Jesus and according to the power of God at work in us, that we are of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing (with one another), loving (each the other as brethren of one household), compassionate and courteous – tenderhearted and humble-minded.
We never return evil for evil or insult for insult, scolding, tongue lashing, berating. But, on the contrary, blessing, praying for their welfare, joy, and protection and truly pitying and loving one another.
For we know that to this we have been called, that we may ourselves inherit blessings from God, obtain blessings as heirs, bringing welfare and joy and protection.
In Jesus’ most Holy and Precious name, AMEN!!
Help me to be a blessing to others, to be like Jesus, Oh Father: kind, caring, compassionate. Click To Tweet
Lord, in this prayer for unity, we ask you to help us take care and nurture your body, guarding the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace by which the members of the body are united. May peace and harmony make and keep things safe and prosperous, until we all come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God. Fill us with the presence, power and riches of Christ Jesus.
Give us the sword of the Spirit. Let it come forth at the right time for it will penetrate even to the dividing of the soul and spirit, joints and marrow; and it will judge the thoughts and attitudes of our hearts. Help us abide in your love so you may remain in us. Like a branch cannot bear fruit by itself, we long to remain in you, so that we may bear much fruit.
Now, as we have accepted Jesus as our Lord, help us to continue to live in obedience to Him. Let our roots grow down into You and draw up nourishment from you so that we will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth we are taught. Let our spiritual life glorify you though done in secret. Draw us to you through creating in us a hunger to spend time in prayer and the study of your word. In prayer for unity of worship and meditation, I ask that you create disciplines that grow deep like the roots of the great sequoia tree.
Save those whom feel the waters have come up to their neck and feel they are sinking in the mire. Be a strong fortress to them when they cannot get a foothold, and the flood sweeps over them. Come to them when they are tired of crying out for you and when their enemies number more than the hairs on their head. Be their shield when their hated without cause and are attacked with lies.
I ask that we be used as instruments of righteousness. Let us die to ourselves that we may bear fruit in your name. Let us grow in love toward one another who are your body. We recognize that the body is a unit though comprised of many parts. You have arranged your parts in the body, every one of them, just as you wanted them to be. We ask that you help us in our prayer for unity to treat each part with love and honor, esteeming them above ourselves.
We recognize that those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But you, oh God have combined the members of the body, and you have given greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other.
We are the body of Christ, and each one of us is a part of it. We love you, therefore we will love one another. We seek to show love to the world to draw them to your redemptive love. Help us to love one another, because Lord if I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Help us to be imitators of God, as dearly loved children and help us to live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. But among us let there not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people. Let there not be obscenity, foolish talk or coarse joking, which are out of place, but rather let us bring thanksgiving. Orchestrate your body to move in unity and pursue the truth in love. May all of us work together in perfect harmony so that, like a clock has many gears we all work prayerfully in unity moving forward in perfect timing from the one true power source.
Lord like Nehemiah we see the trouble the church is in. We see how it lies in ruins. Help us to rebuild the walls so that we may no longer be defeated. You have put your hand upon us to do this good work. So let us rise up and build. Strengthen us for this work. Though we may be criticized for what you have commanded us to do, we will prosper in this work because you are the master builder the rebuilder of broken walls and lives.
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Heavenly Father, we gather together here online and come into agreement in the wonderful and powerful name of Jesus.
Where two or more are gathered there You shall surely be and anything we agree upon as touching You will surely do.
I lift up those watching this video and we come into agreement and lift up unity.
Father we can count on You.
You watch over Your Word to perform it.
In Your Word, You said that in the name of Jesus,…
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For the second day in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, we continue our reflections on the daily themes and Scripture readings that have been set forth by the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. Please read here for our day one reflections and here for the entire set of readings and prayers set forth for this week.
Day Two’s sub-theme of the broader theme of walking humbly together with God is entitled “Walking with the broken body of Christ”. To meditate on unity, we are given four readings and a reflection, which can all be found below at the end of this post. The Old Testament Prophet Ezekiel’s meditation on the dry bones begins the readings, which is found in Ezekiel 37:1-14. The idea of dead and broken bones coming to life is used to create an image of a forthcoming restoration of life to the People of God. More than reflecting only on a past state of affairs, the brokenness and lack of life in those bones can be used as a meditation for lamenting our own brokenness. The next three passages from the Psalter and the New Testament then call us to reflect upon Christ, who died and gave Himself for us, bringing us life by allowing His Body to be broken, and His Blood to be shed. In Psalm 22:1-8, we are brought prophetically to the Holy Cross, where the isolation and agony of the crucifixion was mystically foretold by David. Lastly, in the New Testament we see Christ as the Author of the New Covenant, who gave His Body to be Broken, that we may be healed. In the Gospel of Luke we are taken to the Upper Room, when this Covenant was revealed to the Apostles, most clearly through the Eucharist. And in the Epistle to the Hebrews, we realize that Christ our High Priest suffered as a Priest outside of the gates in isolation to bring us to a united life of praise and thanksgiving (which is, after all, what Eucharistia means) to God.
Below are some further reflections stemming from these passages and reflections that may add to furthering Christian unity, especially in the context of Catholic/Reformed dialogue. May we have the courage to walk more closely together on this journey.
We find our unity by understanding our brokenness. In many ways, there may be Calvinist critics of Catholicism who would be shocked by the entire premise of the day two readings, my former Presbyterian self included. How could a Catholic speak of brokenness, when their ecclesiology is so focused upon a visible body? Is this an admission of an invisible Church? As is the case so many times in dialogue, an either/or distinction fails to grasp the mystery of the Church. In contrast, the Catechism of the Catholic Church captures the visible and invisible natures of the Church, which coexist as does the divine and human natures in Christ. Quoting from multiple patristic and conciliar sources, CCC#771 states:
“The one mediator, Christ, established and ever sustains here on earth his holy Church, the community of faith, hope, and charity, as a visible organization through which he communicates truth and grace to all men.”184 The Church is at the same time:
– a “society structured with hierarchical organs and the mystical body of Christ;
– the visible society and the spiritual community;
– the earthly Church and the Church endowed with heavenly riches.”185
These dimensions together constitute “one complex reality which comes together from a human and a divine element”:186
Meditating upon the human elements which have sadly brought about a real sense of brokenness in the world and in the Church is so important for the cause of unity. Despite being essentially One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic, our human failings have produced so much sad division within ourselves and as a broader community of people. However, if we never feel that we are divided, our hearts would not spur us on to unity. By understanding and admitting to our brokenness, we can search together to find ways to reconcile. If we instead consider brokenness to be normal, we will be overcome by apathy.
We find our unity through Christ, who heals our wounds. In reflecting upon Christ as high priest in whose priesthood we all share through baptism, we realize that if He did not escape suffering, neither shall we. This suffering, when transformed, leads to healing. Thus, in all ecumenical dialogue, if we keep our eyes fixed on Christ as the source of healing, we will find the path to reconciliation. Several questions arise from realizing that God is our strength and source of healing:
Have we relied too much upon our own strength to find unity and healing of our brokenness?
Do we fix blame on others, making every cause hopeless because of someone else?
Can we repent of this, and open our hearts more to Christ?
If so, we will be able to triumph over our wounds as they are mended through love.
We must find a way to become more Eucharistic in our whole way of life. Like Christ’s own life, we find our life to be most full when we give our lives up for others. The Orthodox idea of the liturgy after the liturgy, which is mentioned below in passing in the reflections is extremely important to this idea. It speaks to the idea that our liturgical worship is really the start of our life to serve Christ. As the Byzantine liturgy ends, the priest prays, “Let us go forth in peace”, because we leave the Eucharistic liturgy empowered to live a life in peace in repentance. In the Roman Mass, the closing phrase “Ite Missa Est” carries the same sentiment. (For more information on the liturgy after the liturgy, see here.) When we work together as Christians to serve the world through feeding the poor, etc., we partake of a common act of thanksgiving for God’s blessings. At this point, Christians who are not in full communion with one another experience a very real intercommunion of sorts. It can be a wonderful spur towards seeking that full communion and unity for which Christ prayed to the Father in John 17. On a personal level, if we live in a more Eucharistic manner, we will find a way to see God in all of our lives, and all of our brethren, journeying on the same path that is in truth and love.
BIBLICAL REFLECTIONS AND PRAYERS FOR THE ‘EIGHT DAYS’
Day 2 Walking with the broken body of Christ Readings Ezekiel 37:1-14 “Shall these dry bones live?” Psalm 22: 1-8 God’s servant, mocked and insulted, cries out to God Hebrews 13: 12-16 The call to go to Jesus “outside the camp” Luke 22: 14-23 Jesus breaks the bread, giving the gift of himself before his suffering
To walk humbly with God means hearing the call us to walk out of the places of our own comfort, and accompany the other, especially the suffering other.
“Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut off.” These words from Ezekiel give voice to the experience of many people across the globe today. In India, it is the “broken people” of the Dalit communities whose lives speak vividly of this suffering – a suffering in which Christ, the crucified one, shares. With injured people of every time and place, Jesus cries out to the Father: “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
Christians are called into this way of the cross. The Epistle to the Hebrews makes clear not only the saving reality of Jesus’ suffering, in the place of the margins, but also the need for his disciples to go “outside the camp” to join him there. When we meet those who have been excluded and we recognise the crucified one in their sufferings, the direction we should be going is clear: to be with Christ, means to be in solidarity with those on the margins whose wounds he shares.
The body of Christ, broken on the cross, is “broken for you”. The story of Christ’s suffering and death is prefaced by the story of the last supper: it is then celebrated as victory over death in every eucharist. In this Christian celebration, Christ’s broken body is his risen and glorious body; his body is broken so that we can share his life, and, in him, be one body.
As Christians on the way to unity we can often see the eucharist as a place where the scandal of our disunity is painfully real, knowing that, as yet, we cannot fully share this sacrament together as we should. This situation calls us to renewed efforts towards deeper communion with one another.
Today’s readings might open up another line of reflection. Walking with Christ’s broken body opens up a way to be eucharistic together: to share our bread with the hungry, to break down the barriers of poverty and inequality – these, too, are “eucharistic acts”, in which all Christians are called to work together. Pope Benedict XVI frames his reflections on eucharist for the church in just this way: that it is a sacrament not only to be believed in and celebrated, but also to be lived (Sacramentum caritatis). In keeping with the Orthodox understanding of “the liturgy after the liturgy”, here it is recognised that there is “nothing authentically human” that does not find its pattern and life in the eucharist. (SC 71)
God of compassion, your Son died on the Cross so that by his broken body our divisions might be destroyed. Yet we have crucified him again and again with our disunity, and with systems and practices which obstruct your loving care and undermine your justice towards those who have been excluded from the gifts of your creation. Send us your Spirit to breathe life and healing into our brokenness that we may witness together to the justice and love of Christ. Walk with us towards that day when we can share in the one bread and the one cup at the common table. God of life, lead us to justice and peace. Amen.
- In light of that prophetic tradition in which God desires justice, rather than ritual without righteousness, we need to ask: how is the eucharist, the mystery of Christ’s brokenness and new life, celebrated in all the places where we walk?
- What might we do, as Christians together, better to witness to our unity in Christ in places of brokenness and marginality?