Empowered to Action and Prayer
Day 6 presents the fourth mark of unity; with the church in Jerusalem, we draw strength from spending time in prayer. Specifically, the Lord’s Prayer calls all of us in Jerusalem and throughout the world, the weak and the mighty, to work together for justice, peace and unity that God’s Kingdom may come.
Jonah 2:1-9 Deliverance belongs to the Lord!
Psalm 67:1-7 Let the peoples praise you, O God!
1Timothy 2:1-8 …prayers should be made for everyone...
Matthew 6:5-15 Your kingdom come, your will be done...
Following devotion to the Apostles’ teaching and fellowship and the breaking of the bread, the fourth mark of the earliest Church of Jerusalem is the life of prayer. It is experienced today as the necessary source of the power and strength needed by Christians in Jerusalem - as everywhere. The witness of Christians in Jerusalem today calls us to a deeper recognition of the ways we face situations of injustice and inequality in our own contexts. In all this, it is prayer that empowers Christians for mission to-gether.
For Jonah the intensity of his prayer is met with dramatic deliverance from the belly of the fish. His prayer is heartfelt, as it arises from his own sense of repentance at having tried to avoid God’s will: he has abandoned the Lord’s call to prophesy, and ended up in a hopeless place. And here God meets his prayer with deliverance for his mission.
The Psalm calls us to pray that God’s face will shine upon us - not only for our own benefit, but for the spread of His rule ‘among all the nations’.
The apostolic Church reminds us that prayer is a part of the strength and power of mission and proph-ecy for the world. Paul’s letter to Timothy here instructs us to pray especially for those with power in the world so that we may live together in peace and dignity. We pray for the unity of our societies, and lands, and for the unity of all humanity in God. Our prayer for our unity in Christ reaches out to the whole world.
This dynamic life of prayer is rooted in the Lord’s teaching to his disciples. In our reading from Mat-thew’s Gospel we hear of prayer as a ‘secret’ power, born not from display or performance, but from humble coming before the Lord. Jesus’ teaching is summed up in the Lord’s Prayer. Praying this together forms us as a united people who seek the Father’s will, and the building up of His Kingdom here on earth, and calls us to a life of forgiveness and reconciliation.
Lord God our Father, we rejoice that in all times, places and cultures, there are people who reach out to you in prayer. Above all we thank you for the example and teaching of your Son, Jesus Christ, who has taught us to long in prayer for the coming of your Kingdom. Teach us to pray better as Christians together, so that we may always be aware of your guidance and encouragement through all our joys and distress, through the power your Holy Spirit. Amen.
The materials contained herein are drawn entirely from materials that are jointly prepared and published by The Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and The Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches.