Unity, At Any Cost?

Disaster struck Los Angeles on January 17, 1994. Despite the fact that most of the city's residents never acknowledge their neighbor's existence, people had to pull together to survive the earthquake, and then to cope with the aftermath. It is sad that people have to wait until something bad happens to unite. What a price to pay for unity. It is even sadder to think what could be accomplished during good times, but isn't, because people don't pull together to work as a team.

Why is unity such an elusive goal? Compare our church to any disaster- stricken area. We should not wait for a disaster to bring us to our knees. We should not wait to unite to fight merely for survival. We should take a bold stance now. It should be our decision to unite to fight for growth, both spiritual and physical. Let us take the initiative to work together to honor the Lord through our growth, instead of being forced to fight merely for our existence.

The first step toward unity is to get our personal prayer lives in order. Try this sample prayer. "Dear God: I know it is time I got my house in order. I need to confess some obvious (known) sins. (Name them.) And I also need to confess some less obvious (unknown) sins. Please reveal to me any unknown sins I have been committing, so that I may ask your forgiveness. I seek to be pure and unblemished in your sight. Give me the strength and the wisdom to better avoid all kinds of sin. Help me remove from my life anything that might separate me from your love or might separate me from my fellow Christians. Help me add to my life whatever is necessary to serve you and to please you."

The next step toward unity is to get our collective prayer lives in order. Meet with someone and decide together what both of you would like to say to God. Then just say it. Fancy words are not necessary. All that is necessary is a genuine desire to communicate with God. And remember that prayer is a dialogue, not a monologue. Take time to listen to how the Holy Spirit responds to what you are saying. Some people may be afraid to pray with others because they are shy. Others may be afraid because they don't know what to say. But prayer is simply a conversation with God. Just speak what is on your mind and what is in your heart. There is no substitute for Christians praying together.

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