During his last hours on earth, Jesus prayed for you and me, and all people who believe in him.
He prayed for our unity. By this, he did not mean we have to agree with each and be alike, but we should be joined together in love for one another.
When you pray for other people, especially individuals at church or with whom you do ministry, then take time to think truthfully about your feelings for each person. We should consider, as we make personal prayer, if there is anything standing in the way of us loving that person.
Notice the emotions rising up inside you. Do you have patience with them? Have you been kind and gentle towards them? Do you want to build them up?
Or, do you wish to tear them down, just a little? Do you sense any anger or “she makes me so mad” kind of reaction? Perhaps you feel bitter or jealous. Maybe you believe you are justified in being hostile to them. It could be their behavior makes it hard for you to be tolerant of them, let alone love them.
Is there someone who pops into your mind right now who you don’t get on well with?
Jesus didn’t pray for our unity so we would be a nice happy family. Instead, he knew our love for each other was vital if other people were going to be drawn to him.
Remember our real struggle is not with other people. The Bible reminds us we are not fighting against humans. We are fighting against the powers of darkness. Let’s not let the enemy get a foothold in our family.
When you receive a prayer request for someone in your small group, or the ministry you are involved in at your church, pray for more than that person’s needs. Spend some time really considering your relationship with them, and pray about how you can love them more.