“Behold how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.”
What a beautiful, powerful verse and picture of what God requires of us in the church and what we desire in the church. We desire unity together. It’s pleasant and it’s good, it’s right. It’s what God calls us to. This is a Psalm I actually preached on a couple of days ago, and we applied it specifically to issues of race and justice in our church, which is very multiracial, multiethnic. You can actually find more along those lines at mcleanbible.org/race, just a variety of resources that we put up there, including not just the sermon but some conversations that different pastors and wives from different ethnicities in our church the last week or so have had a couple of different conversations with them about issues of unity in our diversity.
Amidst so many divisive issues swirling around us, may God give us supernatural unity in the church.
As we were praying day in and day out right now for specific things going on in our lives, families, our churches, our world in this pandemic, and thank you for continuing to send in specific prayer requests to radical.net/prayerrequest. But, based on the Psalm 133 verse one, I want to lead us to pray generally for this. Now, I’ve seen different specific requests that have come in over the last couple of months along these lines. I just see so many different threats to unity in the body of Christ, whether it’s over issues of race and justice, even bringing up issues like that threatens unity. Then, I see all kinds of different opinions in different churches about reopening buildings, and you just, you look around you at every turn there’s opportunity for disunity in the body. I’m just reminded when I read Psalm 133 verse one of what Jesus prayed for us in John 17, that we would be one, just as he and the father are one.
So, God, we pray for this. In light of the fact that Jesus prayed for this, in light of the fact that Jesus is interceding for us right now and desires this, we pray particularly in your church, in every church represented and people who are listening right now, God, we pray for unity, for good, pleasant unity around Christ. Not a flabby, flimsy, we’ll just all get along regardless of what we believe or think. Like, God, we pray for a strong unity that’s grounded in the Gospel and what we believe about who you are and how you love us as sinners and how you’ve reconciled us to yourself through what Jesus did on the cross, and in the process paved the way for reconciliation with one another, that we might be joined together as a body, as your bride. Lord Jesus, help us to live joined together, even amidst our differences, our different backgrounds or our different opinions or convictions on different things.
God, help us to cling, all of us, tightly to your word, to the Gospel, to follow the leadership of your spirit, to live for what you’ve called us to live for in this world, to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with you together and do all of this in unity. Help us to make disciples of the nations in unity together. God, we pray for a Psalm 133 verse one kind of unity in your church. Specifically our local churches, and then even in a broader way in the body of Christ. Help us in a Philippians two kind of way to look not to our own interest, but to the interest of others. To do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility to consider others better than ourselves. To look for opportunities to serve others, to lay aside our preferences for others.
God, we pray for this in our churches. We pray for this even amidst decisions that different churches are making, on when to reopen, when not to reopen, what to do. God, we pray that you would guard us all in all of our churches against a spirit of disunity. Guard us from anything that would pull us apart from you and each other. God, we pray that this good and pleasant unity we read about in Psalm 133 would be a reality in our churches, in your church that you have paid for with your blood. Lord Jesus, you died on the cross that we might experience communion with you and with one another. So, help us to live in it, in all the ways you desire and require us to do. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen.