There have been a few times in my life when someone has come up to me and, out of the blue, said, “I’ve been thinking about you.” I don’t know about you, but that makes me feel good. It’s really nice to know that someone appreciates me.
As nice as that is, it’s even more special when someone says, “I’ve been praying for you.” Especially, when I’m going through some sort of trouble or heartache and the person who’s been praying for me didn’t know about it. For whatever reason, God brought me to mind and he or she prayed for me – without even knowing why.
It’s especially humbling when the other person is going through some trouble or hardship of their own, but they took the time to pray for me. They, themselves, could use prayer and support, but it was me they prayed for.
Just a little while before His arrest and crucifixion, Jesus took the time to pray for others. Jesus already knew what He faced. He knew He was going to have to die and He knew how He was going die. I’m sure He wished that somebody would encourage Him and pray on His behalf. Instead, one of His disciples betrayed Him.
In spite of the betrayal, the emotional stress and the dread of anticipating what He was going to suffer in just a few hours, Jesus was thinking about people besides Himself.
That includes you and me. Right after praying for His disciples, Jesus said, “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one: I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” (John 17:20-23 NIV)
Jesus prayed for us. He prayed that we would be united, that we would be one. Jesus not only prayed for unity, He was willing to do what it took to make unity possible. He allowed His body to be broken so that we can be whole. He gave His blood that our differences might be healed.
Each week we gather to remember what Jesus did. We remember His broken body. We remember His blood. Today as we eat and drink the things which remind us of the crucifixion, let’s also remember Jesus’ prayer – the reason He went to the cross. He wanted us to be one.
Let’s renew our determination to make the unity Jesus prayed for a reality. Let’s put aside our differences and disagreements and pray and worship together with one heart.