Is Prayer the Key to Unity?

When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. (Acts 2:1)

As we get closer to the Special Session of the UMC is this weekend, churches, annual conferences and other United Methodist groups are calling for prayer. They are printing prayer guides and organizing prayer vigils.  Millions of United Methodists will pray for unity this weekend, even as delegates debate over human sexuality.

Sometimes a body of Christians pray and they find unity and agreement. Sometimes a body of Christians pray, and they come to contradictory conclusions and fight.

The New Testament provides a somber reality for churches and denominations seeking unity.  Things start out well enough in Acts, with “All the believers were together and had everything in common” (2:44)

The same is said in Acts 4:32: “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.But the author of Acts also recognizes that it wasn’t always like this.

A few verses later there is the unedifying story of a couple (5:1-11), who die after withholding from this unified community that shared everything.


The Death of Ananias, Raphael

There is an alarming account of racial and religious discrimination in the seemingly harmonious community at Acts 6:1-6.

As a result of corporate worship, the Holy Spirit sets apart Paul and Barnabas to be co-missionaries. prayer (13:2). After their 1st mission trip, they have a huge fight and split up (15:39)

Paul and Peter, the 2 pillars of the Church, had a fierce argument in public (Galatians 2:11-21

Paul writes letters to the Corinthian and Philippian churches because they couldn’t stop arguing with one another.

And this was before the days of denominational and theological labels. Church unity is a tricky thing to handle, so this should always be at the top of our prayer list.

About Corey Sharpe

Where do we get our beliefs? Three theological perspectives have significantly shaped my Christian identity: Evangelicalism, the early Methodist tradition and liberation theology. From my coming to faith in a Baptist church and throughout my education in a Baptist school and college, I was nurtured by convictions that emphasized a spiritual rebirth, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and the centrality of the Bible. Even when I disagree with certain aspects of evangelicalism, it has deeply influenced my sense of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. My seminary studies spawned my interest in early Methodism, particularly its approach to spiritual formation. Its leaders were convinced that only a foundation of doctrine and discipline would lead to a meaningful transformation of the heart and mind. In other words, having the mind of Christ enables me to be more like Christ. Life in a suburban culture obscures the increasing gap between the poor and rich, as well as the Bible’s close identification with the poor. My doctoral work in socio-cultural context exposed me to liberation theology, which helps me see redemptive history as a history of oppressed groups, written from the perspective of the powerless, about a God who is actively involved with the poor in their struggles. I am now the pastor at Huntingtown United Methodist Church in Calvert County, Maryland. Together my wife and I are raising 4 young theologians.
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2 Responses to Is Prayer the Key to Unity?

  1. Sharon W says:

    Praying for the Church! This is a devisive issue and there were never give a good answer. What most upsets me is that we are being told how we should believe by our bishop and she thinks she has the solution to the problem. The church will not come away from this unharmed! We have alrwafy lost a member over this. This will be a difficult time no matter what side you take! I keep saying what would god tell us to do and it takes me back to scripture all the time!

  2. Pingback: Is Prayer the Key to Unity? - HUNTINGTOWN UNITED METHODIST CHURCH

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