By Hayden Lindsey
I’ve found the division and strife in our world these days disheartening. Seeing this discord on social media, even among Christians, left me feeling saddened and a bit helpless this summer. In August, the Lord pressed on my heart the importance of praying for unity in the church. He is our Help and our Hope in these strange times.
Blaire Savage and I compiled 30 days’ worth of verses to pray, and our elder wives’ prayer group joined us in praying through the month of August. My dear small group ladies also joined in this effort. Another group of prayer warriors joined in praying through the month of September as I shared the verses through the Remind app and copies were distributed at the corporate prayer meeting. For those who aren’t on Facebook or could not attend corporate prayer, here are the verses. I added a thirty-first one to cover the month of October. Please consider using them as a springboard for praying for the unity of God’s church at North Wake this month.
I love to pray God’s word back to Him. As the writer of Hebrews describes, “… the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12). When I prayed through these verses in August, the Lord really worked on my own heart, showing me my own arrogance in thinking I was right about how pandemic church should be. So, pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ to have unity, but also be open to God working in you and preparing you to be part of how that unity happens.
In this season of Covid, we must be creative in preserving unity in the church. We cannot rely on running into folks at church like we did pre-Covid. We must remember those who cannot join us in person – that older couple you chatted with every week at LifeChange, that dear small group friend with a compromised immune system, the young mom with little ones who stays home to watch online rather than wrangling kids during the service, and so many more. Go out of your way to seek them out and be the hands and feet of Christ to them.
Christ prayed for us to be unified: “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me”( John 17:20-21). Let’s echo our Savior’s prayer and be obedient to follow where He leads, in order to bring glory to His name.
- Day 1: Let’s ask the Lord for His mercy in holding our church together through these strange times. Here is today’s passage to pray: “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity! It is like the precious oil on the head, running down on the beard, on the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes! It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion! For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life forevermore.” Psalm 133:1-3
- Day 2: “I have revealed you to those whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. Now they know that everything you have given me comes from you. For I gave them the words you gave me and they accepted them. They knew with certainty that I came from you, and they believed that you sent me. I pray for them. I am not praying for the world, but for those you have given me, for they are yours…..Holy Father, protect them by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one as we are one.” John 17:6-9, 11
- Day 3: Pray for the brothers and sisters in Christ at North Wake to love one another in a way that shows Christ to the watching world: “‘A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.’” John 13:34-35
- Day 4: Pray for the Holy Spirit to motivate this beautiful work in the hearts of God’s people at North Wake: “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.” Colossians 3:12- 15
- Day 5: Pray for unity in love, not necessarily uniformity of perspective as God has gathered great diversity in the body… “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. For, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech. They must turn from evil and do good; they must seek peace and pursue it.” 1 Peter 3:8-11 NIV
- Day 6: Pray that the people of North Wake may walk in unity to honor the Lord and that the body may build itself up in love: “… walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call— one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all… speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.” Ephesians 4:1-6, 15-16
- Day 7: Pray for the Lord to renew the minds of His people at North Wake and help us use our words to build up one another: “… to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil… Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.” Ephesians 4:22-26, 29-32
- Day 8: Pray for the family of believers at North Wake to have unity in Christ: “… in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith. For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:26-28
- Day 9: Pray for God’s people at North Wake to follow Christ’s example in choosing humility and looking to others’ interests, and so be unified: “So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant.” Philippians 2:1-7
- Day 10: Pray for the people of North Wake to will and work for God’s pleasure and shine brightly to the watching world: “… work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. Do all things without grumbling or disputing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and twisted generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast to the word of life…” Philippians 2:12-16
- Day 11: Pray for God to help all of us who are part of the body of North Wake to tame our tongues so we will not speak ill of fellow image-bearers and show disrespect to God: “… the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell. All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.” James 3:5-10
- Day 12: Pray that God would help his people at North Wake to turn away from any jealousy or selfish ambition in our hearts and instead sow wisdom and peace. May God bring a harvest of righteousness to Wake Forest through our church: “Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth. This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice. But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.” James 3:13-18
- Day 13: Pray for the Lord to be at work in the hearts of His children at North Wake, storing His treasure in us, that our words to one another may be upbuilding and not careless: “… out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:34-37
- Day 14: Pray for unity among the body at North Wake, appreciation of one another’s varying gifts, and no division: “Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good… God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.” 1 Cor. 12:4- 7, 24-26
- Day 15: Pray for the Lord to transform the people of our church so we submit to His will and humbly serve one another with the gifts He’s given each one of us: “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them…” Romans 12:2-6
- Day 16: Pray for love, honor, generosity, compassion, and peace to characterize all the interactions of brothers and sisters in Christ at North Wake: “Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” Romans 12:9-18
- Day 17: Pray for the brothers and sisters in Christ at North Wake not to argue over disputable matters and not to put stumbling blocks in one another’s way: “As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions… Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand… For none of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself. For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God… Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.” Romans 14:1,4,7-10,13
- Day 18: Pray for the people of North Wake to bear one another’s burdens and do good to one another during these hard times, that Christ might be glorified: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ… And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:2,9-10
- Day 19: Pray for the Lord to raise up peacemakers at North Wake and to lead His people not to treat those with differing opinions as enemies: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God… You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:9,43-45
- Day 20: Pray for the people of the church to humbly sit under the teaching of our pastors and elders, rather than grumbling and complaining: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.” Hebrews 13:17
- Day 21: Pray for Jesus to hold together the body of Christ at North Wake and to be pre-eminent in our hearts, minds, and ministry: “He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” Colossians 1:15-20
- Day 22: Pray for the Lord to make His people at North Wake generous towards Him and towards each other and to direct our hearts towards honoring Him: “I know, my God, that you test the heart and have pleasure in uprightness. In the uprightness of my heart I have freely offered all these things, and now I have seen your people, who are present here, offering freely and joyously to you. O Lord, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, our fathers, keep forever such purposes and thoughts in the hearts of your people, and direct their hearts toward you.” 1 Chron. 29:17-18
- Day 23: Pray for God heal divisions and to unify us in mind and judgment: “I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 1:10
- Day 24: Pray for God to grant the people of North Wake agreement and peace, leading to abiding comfort and joy in these uncertain times: “… brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.” 2 Cor. 13:11
- Day 25: Pray for the Lord to help the believers at North Wake turn away from worldliness, put their hope in Him, and be zealous for good works: “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” Titus 2:11-14
- Day 26: Pray for the Lord to keep the people of North Wake focused on Him and building His Kingdom, not on worldly controversies: “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy… avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” Titus 3:1-5, 9
- Day 27: Pray for the Lord to remind His people at North Wake that they are precious to Him and build us into a unified body that honors Him: “As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4-5
- Day 28: Pray for God’s people at North Wake to remember their identity as His children, and for God’s mercy to motivate them to proclaim His excellencies and live honorably among unbelievers: “… you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.” 1 Peter 2:9-12
- Day 29: Pray for God to work in the hearts of His people at North Wake to make us careful to use our words wisely to build up and give life to our brothers and sisters in Christ: “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger. The tongue of the wise commends knowledge, but the mouths of fools pour out folly. The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good. A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perverseness in it breaks the spirit… To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!” Proverbs 15:1-4, 23
- Day 30: Pray for each believer at North Wake to look to Jesus as their example, to persevere in these trying times, to turn from sin, and to strive for peace in the church. Pray for God to renew our energy and heal divisions in our midst: “… let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted… Therefore, lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled…” Hebrews 12:1-3, 12-15
- Day 31: Pray for God to protect His people at North Wake from spiritual attacks on our unity, equipping us with truth, righteousness, readiness, faith, assurance of salvation, reliance on His word, and commitment to prayer: “… be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm…” Ephesians 6:10-13