I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. (John 17:20-21)
Christ Prayed For Unity
Prayer is a powerful tool to communicate with the Father and Jesus knew full well its impact. He spent many, many hours in prayer. When it was time to choose the twelve apostles, the Lord spent all night in prayer. With the shadow of the cross bearing down upon Him, Jesus prayed earnestly to the Father for strength to endure the suffering. Prayer was a vital part of the character of Jesus. As He spent the final hours with the eleven, the Son of God prayed for Himself, the eleven, and the world. The request of Jesus to His Father for the world was that when the gospel would be preached that all men would unite under the single message of salvation found in Christ. Those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, must be united in one. The word of God would bring lost souls to the kingdom and there was going to be only one kingdom. Jesus wanted His followers to be one. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit were united in one and those who made up the body of Christ must also be one. When the believers of Christ are united in one the world will see the power of the gospel.
Two thousand years removed from the prayer of Jesus, the world is struggling to fulfill the desires of His prayer. The nature of prayer is rooted in the blessings of God from heaven but it requires obedience in the will of men to bring the prayer to fruition. Jesus prayed that all believers to be one but the selfish hearts of men deny that prayer as the religious world of Christianity is severely divided. No honest person can admit that all believers are united. Believers in Jesus wear different names like Baptist, Lutheran, Catholic, Methodist, Mormon, Nazarene, and Presbyterian. The phrase “hyphenated-Christian” is an accepted means to identify the different kinds of faiths under the flag of Christ. How can men be united when they wear different names?
The doctrines of supposed believers in Christ are different. Some churches teach that baptism is not essential for salvation while others deny remission of sins in baptism; infant baptism is practiced including different modes of “baptism” by sprinkling and pouring. The Lord’s Supper is practiced in many different ways at different times while churches like the Salvation Army do not follow the practice. Salvation varies from the doctrines of each church where some insist salvation by grace through faith alone, a paradise on literal earth with only a select group entering heaven, salvation based solely on works, and many churches embracing some or all tenets of Calvinism. Creeds vary from group to group with the Baptist Manual, International Executive Council of the Churches of God, Watchtower Bible, Methodist Book of Discipline, Book of Confessions, Apostles Creed, Nicene Creed, and Athanasian Creed. The Roman Catholic Church follows their Catechisms, Councils, and the infallible word of the Pope.
It is impossible to find unity among those who profess a belief in Jesus thereby making void the prayer of the Son of God. Jesus prayed that all those who believed in Him would be one but the carnal hearts of men deny that prayer. Paul would later describe unity as those who spoke the same thing perfectly joined together in the same mind and the same judgment with no divisions among them. How can any rational person suggest the world of believers is united in one? Did the prayer of Jesus fail? No, the prayer of Jesus did not fail because those who believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God are united under one flag. They follow the same teachings found in the scripture without variation of doctrines contained with the word of God.
The prayer of Jesus pleaded for all men to be one in Christ. This can only be done when men turn away from the teachings of the religious leaders that teach what is not found in the Bible. One of the clearest proofs of apostasy is when churches reflect doctrines never found in scripture. All of the Protestant churches that exist today began less than five hundred years ago by men. When different names are worn not found in scripture the church is man-made. The Bible is not hard to understand and doctrines that deny the word of God do not find unity in Christ. The challenge of truth is measured by what is found in the word of God. Unity can be found today among those who accept the Lordship of Jesus Christ turning away from the teachings of men. Let the Bible speak! Jesus prayed for unity. You must fulfill that prayer by subjecting to the word of God alone.