Here are five prayers that may help you pray for church unity.
Prayer for Unity in the Community
You know that we are called into a community of believers who are to have one mind, and that is to glorify You and to make disciples of all nations, even if we’re only able to reach those in our own community. We realized that we cannot possibly have unity in our local community, the church, unless Your Spirit has His way with us. Until we are gathered together with one mind, we cannot be as effective as a church as we can be. Until You send Your Spirit, our carnal natures may try to dictate what we think we should do, but please Father, help us to focus on the mission that You have for each one of us, and as one body, we can do more when we are working together and not placing our own opinions above those of others, than when we work alone. Help us to see that Your desire is for us to work together as a body does in doing what You have set before us to do, and I pray for You to open doors for us to walk through, but also that we might also see what we are to do in walking through that door and recognize the work You have purposed for us to do. Truly, we know we must be striving to live a holy life and to make Jesus Christ the center of our lives, and only then can we hope to do anything for His glory, and not ours, and in the mighty name of Jesus Christ I pray, Amen.
Prayer for One Purpose
Great God in heaven,
please help our church that we have one purpose in life and that is to glorify You and Your Great Son, Jesus Christ. Nothing else matters because You have said in Your Word that we will not glorify You in our lives if we are not striving to live in obedience to You, and to love one another, which is what we need to do to show the world that our love for one another is how they will know that we are truly Jesus’ disciples (John 13:35). You have testified in Your Word that “everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made” (Isaiah 43:7), should be striving to bring You glory and to not rob You of glory for things that we do and ascribe these works to ourselves. We must realize that we have nothing that we did not receive from You Lord (1 Cor 4:4), so if we boast, let our church boast only in You for all the marvelous things You have done for us, and that is our prayer and it is in the name of and for the glory of Jesus Christ, in Whose name we pray, Amen.
Prayer for Oneness of Mind
Blessed Father God,
You are so good to us, even though none of us deserve Your goodness (Rom 3:10-12), and that You alone are good, and so let us join together in one mind for one express purpose and that is to proclaim Your goodness to those who do not yet know You. Oh, God, that they would know You so that You might extend Your grace to them (James 4:6) that they might be saved. Please help us take heed to Jesus’ Words in praying that we might be one, praying “Holy Father, keep them in your name, which you have given me, that they may be one, even as we are one” (John 17:11), and that should be our prayer too Father. Let us be of one mind and have one purpose and that is to glorify You and to tell others that there is only one way that they might be saved, and that is through the Person and work of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:12). Let us join hands and hearts in this single purpose for us to all have one mind and a mind that is focused on You for Your work that You have prepared beforehand for us to do (Eph 2:10), and it is for this that we pray in the precious name of Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Prayer for Mission
Holy God, most reverenced above all,
Please help us to focus on the mission You have given us all, and that mission is to reach the lost and to make disciples of all with whom we come into contact, and to teach them the same things that You taught Your disciples (Matt 28:19-20) and by their writings in Your Word, that we may be taught these very same things. Oh Lord, Your Word stands forever, so let us put feet on our faith in doing what You have commanded us to do, and that is to help the poor, the widows and orphans (James 1:27), but also to visit the sick and those in prison, and to welcome into the family those who are strangers among us (Matt 25:34-35), because we understand that what we do for the least of these, we are really doing it for You (Matt 25:40), but also what we don’t do for others, we are not doing for You Lord (Matt 25:45). I know You take these marching orders seriously, so let us invest our lives into doing what You have commanded us to do, but always doing it for Your glory and not ours, and in the precious name of the Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Prayer for the Body
God, my Father,
You have placed each one of us in the Body of Christ, the church, as it has pleased You and not us. Help us to recognize that it is You Who have organized Your church and have placed each one of us exactly where we need to be to do Your work and for Your glory. If we can respect those who some might consider to be in a less-than-honorable position, then we can understand that even those who seem to be less in the body are actually those who are more honorable in Your eyes, just as Paul said that the “parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty” (1st Cor 12:23). We know that You have no greater respect or regard for one person over another, so help us to not have a higher regard for some and not for others (Acts 10:34), and for what we ourselves have been called to do for You. This is all about You Lord and not about us, so help us to prioritize our calling within the body and to respect all members as the same, as You also do, and in the name above all names, Jesus Christ, I pray, Amen.
Perhaps you could comment by giving us a much better prayer than the ones that I have written from the heart. There is such importance in our prayers and in particular, our corporate prayers as we send our requests to God through Jesus Christ. May we be of one mind, one purpose, having one mission, and for our community of believers to all be in agreement in beseeching Your help in doing what you’ve called us to do. That is to reach the lost, glorify You in our lives, and to show the world what the love of God truly looks like in the hopes that they might be drawn to You and place their trust in You so that they too might be saved.
Read more about prayer here: Different Types of Prayer in the Bible
Resource – Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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On the last night of his life Jesus prayed a prayer that stands as a citadel for all Christians:
“I pray for these followers, but I am also praying for all those who will believe in me because of their teaching. Father, I pray that they can be one. As you are in me and I am in you, I pray that they can also be one in us. Then the world will believe that you sent me” (John 17:20–21 NCV).
How precious are these words. Jesus, knowing the end is near, prays one final time for his followers. Striking, isn’t it, that he prayed not for their success, their safety, or their happiness.
He prayed for their unity. He prayed that they would love each other. As he prayed for them, he also prayed for “those who will believe because of their teaching.” That means us! In his last prayer Jesus prayed that you and I be one.
Of all the lessons we can draw from this verse, don’t miss the most important: unity matters to God. Why? Because “all people will know that you are my followers if you love each other” (John 13:35 NCV). Unity creates belief. How will the world believe that Jesus was sent by God? Not if we agree with each other. Not if we solve every controversy. Not if we are unanimous on each vote. Not if we never make a doctrinal error. But if we love one another.
Unity creates belief. Disunity fosters disbelief. Who wants to board a ship of bickering sailors? Paul Billheimer may very well be right when he says: “The continuous and widespread fragmentation of the Church has been the scandal of the ages. It has been Satan’s master strategy. The sin of disunity probably has caused more souls to be lost than all other sins combined.”
Could it be that unity is the key to reaching the world for Christ? The world will be won for Christ when the church is one in Christ. If unity is the key to evangelism, shouldn’t it have precedence in our prayers? Shouldn’t we, as Paul said, “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3 NIV)?
Nowhere, by the way, are we told to build unity. We are told simply to keep unity. From God’s perspective there is but “one flock and one shepherd” (John 10:16). Unity does not need to be created; it simply needs to be protected.
Where there is faith, repentance, and a new birth, there is a Christian. When I meet a person whose faith is in the cross and whose eyes are on the Savior, I meet a brother or a sister. Wasn’t that Paul’s approach? When he wrote the church in Corinth, he addressed a body of Christians guilty of every sin from abusing the Lord’s Supper to arguing over the Holy Spirit. But how does he address them? “I beg you, brothers and sisters” (1 Corinthians 1:10 NCV).
When the church in Rome was debating whether to eat meat offered to idols, did Paul tell them to start two churches? One for the meat-eaters and one for the non-meat-eaters? No, on the contrary, he urged, “Christ accepted you, so you should accept each other, which will bring glory to God” (Romans 15:7 NCV).
Is God asking us to do anything more than what he has already done? Hasn’t he gone a long way in accepting us? If God can tolerate my mistakes, can’t I tolerate the mistakes of others? If God allows me, with my foibles and failures, to call him Father, shouldn’t I extend the same grace to others? If God doesn’t demand perfection, should I? “They are God’s servants,” Paul reminds us, “not yours. They are responsible to him, not to you. Let him tell them whether they are right or wrong. And God is able to make them do as they should” (Romans 14:4 TLB).
God’s ship is a grand vessel. Just as a ship has many rooms, so God’s kingdom has room for many opinions. But just as a ship has one deck, God’s kingdom has a common ground: the all-sufficient sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
Will you pray with me for the day when Jesus’ prayer is answered?
©Max Lucado (taken from In the Grip of Grace, Thomas Nelson, 1999)
Paul Billheimer Love Covers (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1981), 7
Jehovah Mekoddishkem, we bless Your holy name. Fill us with Your Holy presence. Guide our thoughts, our actions, our words and our deeds so that they will all be used in the manner of glorifying Your precious name. Draw close to us as we seek Your face.
1 Timothy 5:8 But if anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for members of his household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.
Ephesians 6:1-4 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother” (this is the first commandment with a promise), “that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.” Fathers, do not provoke Your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.
We just want to lift up our families before You, Oh God. Thank You for each and every member. Give them peace in their hectic lives as well as protection against all evil wherever they go. Allow each individual to be a blessing to others.
I declare that every sign of gossip, confusion, hatred, bitterness, envy, jealousy, malice and pride against one another will be dispelled in Jesus’ name.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Psalm 133:1 Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!
Restoring Unity and Peace
Restore unity and peace, and may love, faith and hope invade the hearts of each of them. Mend the broken relationships within each circle. Let love never run dry for one another and let all situations be resolved.
Allow all the lost ones who have been led astray by the world discover You again, Merciful Savior. Continue to bless us daily. We declare that all families will unite and love will be restored from this day forward, in Jesus’ mighty name, Amen!
1 Timothy 3:4 He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive
Proverbs 18:22 He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the Lord.