Friday, October 23, 2009

Embracing Unity, Acting out Jesus' prayer

You can perhaps tell a lot about someone by listening to the prayers she prays. Not the public ones. Too often we pray in public with what other people have in mind. We pray in public - and this is not to judge - trying to sound good. It's the prayers that someone prayers when no one else but God is around to listen. That's when you can perhaps tell the most about someone. Wouldn't you agree?

Because it's in those moments that the inner desires and hopes of every one of us gets expressed. Or maybe it's in those moments of personal intimacy with God that our deepest longings take shape ... interesting... that's not something that I have thought of before.

What did Jesus pray? Wouldn't it be huge to know Jesus's actual prayers? What he said to God? What of his heart he poured out as his deepest longing and perhaps as an expression of his greatest need because he wasn't able to make it happen on his own? Hmmm...To be a fly on the wall when Jesus prayed?

Well, we have a few recorded in the gospels. By some counts nine. There is perhaps the one that is best known - the Lord's prayer, "Our Father, who is in heaven..." And there is the one he prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane in the darkness before the darkness, "Father, take this cup from me..." And of course, there are the ones he prayed in his greatest pain on the cross, "Why have you forsaken me? Forgive them, for they know not what they do. Into your hands I commit my spirit." They reveal so much, don't they?

If Jesus' prayers, like our own, reveal his deepest longest and most urgent needs, look at one in John 17. “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Abba, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me."

When you live with others in community, a community like Christians who form "church", you have to ask yourselves the question: Am I embracing unity with others who may be very different than me? Do I behave in ways that foster a spirit of oneness? How am I a fulfillment in my actions of Jesus' prayer, "...that all of them may be one"?