January 18, 2017

Today marks the beginning of the week of prayer for Christian unity. I believe this is an important week for us to commemorate. I believe that prayer affects God. I also believe that prayer affects the person offering the prayer. As I lift up my fellow Christian in prayer, I remember them, think about them, and grow closer in solidarity with them. So during this week, I have resolved to pray for those who are Christian who seem so isolated or different from me that I might not normally think about them. Here is a list of the Christians I will pray for over the course of the week:

Wednesday – Central and South American Christians who are entering the US illegally in the hope of finding a better life for themselves and their families
Thursday – Chinese Christians who secretly believe and worship for fear of persecution
Friday – Arab Christians who live in Israel and the West Bank and work for peace in a hostile climate while stewarding some of Christianity’s most treasured sites
Saturday – Filipino Christians who live in terror of or opposition to government-sanctioned extrajudicial killings
Sunday – Christians who feel isolated or disconnected from the Church
Monday – African Christians who constantly struggle to survive tribal conflicts and acts of violence perpetrated by religious extremists
Tuesday – Indian Christians who fall victim to caste ideology and systems of economic oppression
Wednesday – Western European Christians who strive to remain faithful in the face of rising secularism and inclusive in the face of increased nationalism

As I think about and pray for these Christians around the world, I will remember the words of the Apostle Paul who wrote, “In Christ Jesus [we] are all children of God through faith… there is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female; for all of [us] are one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:26-28). Because we have Christ within us and Christ between us, there is far more that connects us Christians than divides us. Our prayers for unity can help us be more unified because we begin to see our fellow Christians as our sisters and brothers in God; the labels that the world affixes to them fall away when we can see the reality of their identity in Christ. I hope you will join me as I lift up my prayers for Christian unity this week.

+ Peace,
Pastor Jack