Jump to Prayer FocusBible Passage for Meditation: 1 John 4
Key Verse: “We love him, because he first loved us.” 1 John 4:19
The statistics are heartbreaking. One out of every two marriages in the U.S. ends in divorce. And the sad reality is that this is just as true of Christians who regularly attend church as it is of the general public. We live in a society that struggles to find lasting unity.
But the statistics also provide a radical solution. A recent Gallup poll found that for couples who pray together daily, only one out of 1,153 marriages ends in divorce! That’s 0.09 percent, compared to 50 percent of marriages where the couples do not pray together daily. This leads the authors of the book Prayer Saturated Kids to conclude, “Prayer builds unity and intimacy. We become intimate to whom we pray, for whom we pray, and with whom we pray” (Prayer Saturated Kids, p. 33). In essence, praying together can bring unbreakable unity to our relationships.
Of course, this isn’t always easy. When I’ve just had a disagreement with someone, I seldom feel like praying with the person. Yet, I’ve found again and again that this truly does break down barriers and cool down tempers.
I remember one time when I saw how clearly this could help a difficult situation of disunity. I was leading a team in ministry and having difficulty resolving some interpersonal conflicts with one member of the team. Usually I confronted the individual on the spot about behavior I thought was problematic. This often resulted in an escalated conflict. One day God led me to pull him aside and spend time praying with him before we talked about the challenges. Afterward, we had the smoothest and most productive conversation that we’d ever had. Then he asked me, “Can we always work things out like this?”
Clearly, what Ellen White wrote more than 100 years ago is extremely relevant for finding unity in 2015: “Prayer unites us with one another and with God. Prayer brings Jesus to our side, and gives to the fainting, perplexed soul new strength to overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil. Prayer turns aside the attacks of Satan” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 250).
Prayer is a powerful key to unity because it connects us with the only true source of love! After all, we only truly love because of the love He has given us (1 John 4:19).
As we enter into dialogue this General Conference Session about crucial issues that some believe will divide us, may we remember to humble ourselves and pray together (especially with those with whom we have the greatest disagreements). Let’s pray for unity in love that Christ alone can bring!
Heart Prayer Challenge:
Father, we are facing big challenges individually and as a church. The enemy is seeking to divide us. Help us to remember that we will only find unity as we spend time in Your Word and in praying together. Help us to humbly and lovingly come together in prayer, laying down our personal agendas and seeking Yours alone. Please pour out Your Spirit upon us. Now, more than ever, we need this gift in our families, communities, and churches. Thank You for so lavishly loving us so that we can love others in return! Amen.