A great awareness has been taking place on a worldwide level that is bringing people from different confessions and denominations together in Christian unity. Recent events include: an event commemorating the 500th year anniversary of the Protestant Reformation in which Lutherans, Catholics and many other denominations celebrated Christian unity; a global gathering held in Jerusalem to link the East and the West; and the upcoming annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity January 18–25 in which many denominations and YWAM workers are involved.
Some have described Christian unity as the process of becoming one versus having a focus on one denomination’s distinctions over another’s. The process of becoming one involves having a greater focus on the workings of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and affectionately loving our Christian brothers and sisters even if we do not agree completely with the doctrine of their denomination. We focus instead on the essentials of the Christian faith as opposed to the details of one denomination or another, and humble ourselves like Christ.
In humility, we can perceive that the Body of Christ exists within and outside different Christian expressions. Though we might agree with the theology of a particular church or denomination, we know that does not mean everyone who attends there is a believer, and there are also godly believers who are members of churches or confessions with whom we might disagree. We all seek to have a Biblical faith and theology but we all reach different conclusions.
Jesus spoke of unity: “I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one….“ (John 17:22).
Paul prayed for and encouraged unity: “May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had, so that with one mind and one voice you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:5-7).
One of YWAM’s eighteen foundational values includes being interdenominational. YWAM believes this denominational diversity is a positive factor that contributes to the health and growth of the mission. Some examples of YWAMers working interdenominationally for Christian unity are:
- YWAM Egypt’s work within Coptic churches.
- Based upon a long-standing relationship between a YWAM leader and the former Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who became Pope Francis, the Pope has received YWAM leaders and sent greetings to YWAM events. Watch this video of YWAM praying for Pope Francis.
- The work of YWAM’s Kerygma network in the Catholic world.
- Many who teach in YWAM training schools have been drawn from a wide variety of denominations and confessions.
- In the Middle East, many of our staff and leaders identify themselves as Orthodox.
- Many YWAMers have joined in with regional and global gatherings of Watchmen for the Nations, where unity has been a major theme over recent years, bridging divisions within the Chinese church and between Christians from different tribes and nations.
Please join us this month in praying for YWAMers and other Christians to have a heart for fellowship in the body of Christ across institutional barriers, even in polarized communities.
Pray for Christian Unity
As you prepare to pray, read Acts 15 and ask the Father to:
- Provide clarity for your community regarding living harmoniously with other Christians and about diversity that needs grace and forgiveness.
- Reveal how your community can achieve a higher level of unity with churches and partners in your area.
- Reveal to you where your particular views may be limiting unity.
Also, review countries in your area to identify specific prayer needs regarding Christian unity.
Consider beginning your time of prayer by watching Alejandro Rodriguez’s prayer for Pope Francis and then join in with that prayer.
As you seek God about Christian unity:
- Pray for a greater vision of a united Church and that the love of Christ would become a means and motive for reconciliation.
- Pray that believers would obtain a greater sense of wonderment regarding our Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit so that we would not be focused on the little things.
- Pray for a deeper appreciation for the unity within the Godhead.
- Pray for relational unity with other Christians where relationships are strained and love is lacking.
- Pray that we would refrain from the temptation to compare our best with the other’s worst when we talk of other Christians. Pray that we would rather focus on and believe in the marvelous work of Christ in the others.
- Pray for Christians and churches to focus on beliefs that unite us, which is much stronger and greater than what divides us. Pray also for humility and respect in addressing divisions.
- Pray for heartfelt repentance starting with ourselves, where we have built walls of sinfulness out of pride, fear, independence, selfishness, etc.
- Pray for YWAM ministries that serve diverse churches and that build Christian unity.
- Pray for the 250 YWAMers that call the Middle East their home. Pray for unity in partnerships so that the people of the Middle East will meet their Savior.
- Pray for YWAMers to have clarity on essentials of the Christian faith.
- Praise God for the opportunities we have to work with people from different denominations and confessions and ask Him to give us wisdom in modeling Christian unity the way Christ would.
- Pray for the leaders of the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches.
- YWAM Kerygma requests prayer for Catholics and Protestants to be open to learning from each other so that they can love and reach the poor and unreached together.
- Pray for oneness with your partner churches and other Christian organizations in your area.
- Pray that deep-rooted historical differences will be resolved in a spirit of love.
- Pray for YWAMers to be true ambassadors of reconciliation, proclaiming this reconciliation in word and deed to all the world. Pray that we would lead as examples and facilitate for others the breaking down of walls, building of bridges and opening doors to new ways of living in the communities we are involved in.
- Find ways to celebrate Jesus and what we share in common with other Christians and together pray for your area.
- Join together with other Christians in outreaches to serve the poor and marginalized in your area.
- Ask open questions of other Christians about beliefs and practices from their tradition which puzzle you, with a genuine humility and desire to learn.
- Read the daily devotions for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25) and develop a plan for your involvement. Consider facilitating a joint prayer service for Christians and churches in your area during this week.
- Organize a day of Bible study and prayer with Christians from multiple theological backgrounds. For inspiration, review an experience YWAM Montana had.
- Find out more about YWAMers working with other believers including Coptic Orthodox Christians, Catholics, and the persecuted Church.
- Read about the relationship between local churches and mission agencies.
- Research persecuted Christians in your area and formulate a plan to reach out to them in brotherly love. Read about Coptic Christians being persecuted in Egypt.
- Share on facebook.com/youthwithamission, post a picture and add a comment about how you prayed.
- Go to twitter.com; search for #praywithywam and tweet about your prayer time or post a picture.
- Send an email to us letting us know how you prayed and what God revealed to you.
How We Prayed
During December, 2016 we prayed for Paris:
- YWAM York, United Kingdom prayed against loneliness and bitterness in Paris, for generous hospitality, and that the gospel would be distinctive and would shine bright against the backdrop of humanism and the occult.
- YWAM Blantyre, Malawi prayed all day and YWAMers there signed up for certain times.
- YWAM Ports De Vie, France joined The Invitation during their weekly intercessory time. They report that it was a great privilege to pray for their brothers and sisters in Paris and for the city itself and its inhabitants.
- YWAM Orlando, USA focused during The Invitation on prayer for Paris refugees and terrorism.
YWAM Ituzaingo, Argentina prayed for refugees to know the way of salvation and for YWAM ministry centers to open where refugees are living.
- A woman in Jakarta who attended a YWAM Discipleship Training School several years ago reported that the Lord had led her ministry two months ago to travel to Paris and other European cities to pray against darkness and to preach the Gospel December 8–18, 2016. Thirty nine team members travelled to Paris on December 8 to start this mission trip.
- YWAM Tallinn, Estonia prayed for Paris and shared a photo of their white board.
Don’t Miss The Invitation
Future topics of The Invitation:
- February 9, 2017 Growth: Local
- March 9, 2017 Growth: Global
- April 13, 2017 Growth: Persecution
Here’s how to participate:
- Sign up for prayer updates. On ywam.org, find the “Stay Connected” box on the home page, put in your email address and click “Sign Up.”
- Join the conversation about how God is leading in these prayer times. Comment on the post on the second Thursday on YWAM’s Facebook page.
- Follow YWAM on Twitter; search for #praywithywam and tweet about your prayer time or post a picture.
- Download prayer updates in a specific language. Go to ywam.org/theinvitation. (Currently available in Spanish, Portuguese, French, Indonesian, Korean or request other languages.)
- If you sense God giving you a word or a direction for YWAM’s prayer, please contact us.