It seems like in the last year there has been more division over issues than any other time I can remember.
Personally, I have struggled with ugly feelings toward people, social media posts, and political issues that I find myself disagreeing with, and I know I’m not alone. God has been working on me in these areas, opening my eyes to my own blind spots and contribution to the problem.
As a peace-seeker, I don’t like outright confrontation, but in my mind and heart there is regularly judgement and conflict. In many ways that can be worse by giving you a false sense of being the “good person” who doesn’t stir up trouble among friends and acquaintances in real life or on social media. Meanwhile, under the surface there is a war raging.
I believe strongly that at this time in history, Satan is working overtime to stir up bitterness, division and to pit Christian brothers and sisters against one another to distract us from the things God is calling us to do. I have seen him at work in my own life, and am determined to fight with all my strength against him. God has been teaching me that prayer can be a powerful weapon in this battle.4 powerful prayers to pray for unity in this divisive time. Click To Tweet
4 Powerful Prayers to Pray for Unity
Here are some prayer points that have been helping me in this struggle against division, and I hope they’ll help you too!
Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. – Psalm 129:23-24 (NIV)
1.) Pray for God to Show You Your Own Sins
Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal any hidden sin in your life… then repent.
If we as the Church are going to be that “city on a hill“ and light to a hurting world, unity and reconciliation begins with each one of us. Even if you don’t feel like you have been contributing to division among friends, family members, or the church, each one of us needs to approach God with open hearts and minds and pray that the Holy Spirit will convict us of areas where we are harboring resentment, bitterness, racism, classism, or feelings of superiority or pride against other people who think or believe differently from us.
It could be useful to go into this time of prayer with a journal handy so you can take notes as you hear from God. The next step is to earnestly repent, or turn away from these things that can be used to cause division within the Body of Christ.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. -Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)
2.) Take it to Jesus
Take your angst, pain and even anger to God.
If you find yourself feeling angry and bitter toward someone else, there is a good chance that anger and bitterness are actually rooted in woundedness and sadness, maybe from feeling like you are misunderstood or have been disrespected, or that values or rights you hold deeply have been violated. Take these feelings to God. There might be times when you can take these feelings to an offending party, but even before that and even if that is not possible we can and should take these feelings of hurt, pain, bitterness, resentment, and even anger and rage or hatred to God himself. He is Jehovah Rapha, the Almighty God who heals!
Jesus Himself carries our burdens, we were never meant to shoulder them ourselves. But maybe the pain you feel is because you were made aware of situations when you’ve hurt others or contributed to division in ways that you didn’t even realize before. This can cause intense sorrow, shame, and regret.
If it isn’t taken to God with a spirit of repentance and in light of the hope of the redeeming gospel, it could cause depression or a damaging spiral of thoughts that will lead you to feel like you’re not worthy of God‘s love or forgiveness. Of course this is absolutely not the case, and when we come to God and believe the truth that we have been redeemed, that we have been forgiven, there is great healing to be had!
But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you -Matthew 5:44 (NIV)
3.) Pray for Those Who Have Hurt You
Forgive and pray blessings over those who have hurt you or offended you… even if they aren’t sorry.
This is such a hard teaching. It’s hard enough to forgive someone who has wounded us when they come to us asking for forgiveness, but when that person hasn’t apologized or even seem to feel sorry over the matter, it can feel impossible. But we are called to love our enemies, to pray for those who persecute us, and to forgive as God has already forgiven us. To fail to do so would put us in the category of the unmerciful servant in Matthew 18, and let’s just say things didn’t work out great for him!
I have been in situations where I have begun to pray blessings with teeth clenched together, going through the motions and hating every second of it, and in the midst of those prayers my heart is melted and changed and transformed and I begin in the process of obedience to receive the grace of God to truly forgive from my heart. I realize that there are times when pain is too deeply rooted for a one-time prayer to change things completely, but at the very least it’s a start.
There is healing and joy and freedom from the bondage of resentment and bitterness when we pray these prayers to forgive others and to pray blessings on our offenders.
When we pray for those who have hurt us, it brings healing. Click To Tweet
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. -Romans 15:5-6 (NIV)
4.) Pray for Your Church
Pray for healing and reconciliation within the Church — and specifically for your own church.
These prayers need to be bold, sword-wielding prayers! This is no time to be polite. We need to rebuke the enemy by name, and as members of the body of Christ, we need to take hold of the authority given to us by the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ to fight like we have never fought before for his Bride, the Church! We need to acknowledge God as our Champion and renounce any power Satan has dared to grasp onto. We need to pray with blood, sweat, and tears that God would bring the church to repentance to love for one another to humility, and the supernatural ability to accomplish as one unit the important tasks that God is placed before us. When we do this, Satan doesn’t stand a chance.
We need to remember to lift our local churches up specifically, because as individuals we know the intimate details of the specific needs and challenges each church and its leaders face.
Join the Conversation
What about you? Have you struggled with the division you’ve seen in the world recently? How have you made an effort to begin the journey toward unifying the body of Christ? What prayers have you prayed?