Praying for the Church
"9 And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, 10 so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; 12 giving thanks[a] to the Father, who has qualified you[b] to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins."
When I first posted this passage on my Instagram account, hoping to encourage others to pray this over the Church, I did so because I knew I needed it too. I need to “be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding…”. But as I prayed this prayer over the Church over the past few days, I realized that I need it also because my mind was preaching disunity to my spirit. 1 Corinthians 1:10 says, “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.” This doesn’t mean that we all have to agree on everything. That’s impossible. it means that we are to agree that Jesus Christ is our Lord and authority.
There are Christians that I disagree with, and I’m often tempted to write them off because we see things differently. My pride tells me that I’m right and they’re wrong on a certain topic, so I shouldn’t listen to anything they have to say. The reality is that we are all in process, we are all learning, and we will be until we reach heaven. Just because I disagree with another believer on one topic doesn’t mean that I can’t learn anything from them at all, and regardless of how much I can or cannot learn from them, I need to pray for them because that is what God calls us to do. Colossians 4:3-4 says, “3 At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— 4 that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.”
It is true that we must measure all teaching against the truth of Scripture, and there are (unfortunately many) instances in which Christian teachers are wrong. But they’re not wrong because I think they’re wrong. They’re wrong because God’s Word says so.
So what do we do when we hear/read something from another believer that we think is false? We pray for discernment, and we look to the Bible for truth. And, we pray for that person. Humbly coming before God and asking Him to give that person wisdom and discernment changes our hearts and attitudes toward that person, and promotes unity in the Body of Christ. When we put aside our pride, we are better able to see others as God sees them, and in that we see ourselves better too. We are reminded that we need Jesus just as much as anyone else. We are all sinners in desperate need of our Savior. None of the knowledge that I have of the truth of Scripture comes from me. It comes from the Holy Spirit at work within me. We cannot take credit for that, so we should give grace to others, just as grace has been given to us.
There will be times that we need to speak the truth in love to other believers that are speaking untruths, but we must do that humbly and graciously. There will also be times that others will have to speak truth to us about untruths that we believe, and we need to listen to that admonishment with humility and grace as well. None of us are able to do this on our own. It is only through Christ within us that we are able to show humility and grace to anyone, for any reason.
So, I urge you, especially in this tumultuous time in which we are living, to pray for one another to “be united in the same mind and same judgement”. Pray for believers that you agree with, but maybe especially pray for believers you don’t agree with. Take note of what happens in your heart, and thank God for what He is doing in all of this.