All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
– Acts 1:14
When Christians are united in the same purpose, mind, and heart, the Lord is greatly pleased and the Holy Spirit comes in powerful ways. This is exactly what happened in the first church in Jerusalem and what has happened many times in various places since then. Christian unity precedes a great work of God, which is why we focus this week’s prayers for national revival on this subject.
The book of Acts is not merely a history book about early Christianity; it is a guide for the Church in every generation. Acts teaches us lessons from both positive and negative situations. One of the most desirable features of the first disciples was their unity in Christ.
Luke, the human author of Acts, describes the church’s tight-knit community as “one accord” (ὁμοθυμαδόν, homothumadon) in Acts 1:14. This keyword is reused four times in the action-packed, Spirit-filled sequences of the first five chapters. The ESV merely translates the word as “together” in 2:46, 4:24, and 5:12, but “together” seems too light to portray the Greek word's meaning and the kind of lock-tight, team-spirit camaraderie the early disciples maintained. They were one Body, all for Jesus.
What divides American Christians today? Or maybe an easier question is: “What does not divide American Christians today?” The early disciples also had all kinds of reasons to divide. They had different personalities, different views on the Roman Empire, different stages of life, and so on, but they were far more passionate about following the risen Lord's commandments. By God’s grace, we too can put all of our secondary differences to the side and put our Lord Jesus Christ front and center.
Unfortunately, such unity wasn’t present everywhere as the gospel spread. The Corinthians, for instance, were known for factions, envy, and rivalry (1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-4). What will be said of us? Can we put denominations, politics, personalities, theologies, and preferences to the side and unitedly seek God first? Are Jesus and His commands the heartbeat of our souls, such that we can bear with one another, forgive each other, and humble ourselves before one another for His sake? By God’s grace, we can do the hard work of preserving the unity of the Spirit.
If American Christians can unite in prayer and purpose, we can soon experience extraordinary works of the Holy Spirit just as He has done so many times in the Scriptures, in church history, and in the international church today.
Our Father, we echo the words of our Lord Jesus, who prayed, “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” (John 17:20-21) Let us be perfectly one, Father. Let this be done just as Your Son asked. In His name, we agree.
With you in Christ,
Chuck Hetzler, PhD
Director, Christian Union Day and Night
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