Items For Prayer And Praise
By Lois J. Stucky
Five-hundred parents formed a ring around the stadium in Wichita, their heartfelt prayers mingling on behalf of the meeting going on in the stadium. The Gospel was being preached to their young people. Concerned police were on hand, as the stadium was near an area where violence sometimes occurred. But the anticipated disruption did not materialize. A number of young people were saved at the meeting. It was a blessed demonstration of the effectiveness of united prayer.
Andrew Murray, in the front-page article, urges us to ring the world with our united prayers, "with a large-hearted love that grasps the whole body of Christ and pleads daily for the power of the Holy Spirit on all its members, even to the very feeblest." We want to emphasize here this vision of his. Surely it delights the heart of God to hear and to answer the loving prayers of His people one for the other. Has He not promised to pour out of His Spirit upon all flesh in the last days? (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17). For this He would be inquired of to do it (Ezek. 36:3).
Oh, that God might give us His vision of the Body of Christ and help us grasp His love and desires for that Body! It is the Body of His own dear Son, purchased with the Blood of His Son out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation and united to Him. It is a great privilege to be a cell in that Body, a tiny cell though it may be. And every cell has something to supply to the Body. Let us ask God for more of His love to be shed abroad in our hearts for His Body that we might be eager and able to supply our part.
Unity involves not only praying together but working together for the spread of the Gospel. Someone has said that unity begins at the cross. Yes, the cross must work in each of us individually if there is to be unity. "Submitting [ourselves] one to another in the fear of God" (Eph. 5:21). "Esteem others better than [ourselves]" (Phil. 2:3). At the foot of the cross, beholding Him who was broken for us, our old self is broken. For His sake, we humble ourselves and make way for the Holy Spirit to merge us with others in the Body. Filled with the Spirit and walking in the Spirit brings unity with others likewise endowed.
How careful we must be to refuse strife and disunity, for in James, chapter 3, we are told that bitter envying and strife are "earthly, sensual, devilish." Satan knows well the strength there is in unity, and will inject strife and disunity whenever he can. Let's not let him use us. Remember also that that which is from above is first of all pure, unmixed with error, and then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated. Let us not be led into accepting error in our desire for unity.