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The most evangelical prayer in all of scripture is the one Christ prayed near the end of His life on earth, more than 2000 years ago.  After praying for His closest followers, the Apostles, He turned His attention to those that would become His disciples in the millenniums to come.  In John 17, He prays:

20 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.  Do you see it?  Christ is waiting on the Church – His Bride – to be united, so that the world may know that the Father loves them and sent Christ to die for them.  I believe He has been lifting this prayer up, in intercession for the Church, since the day the Father first put it in His heart. 

It is amazing to me how little attention this prayer gets in our churches today.   With all the efforts to evangelize the world, how have we missed the very strategy that our Lord and Savior prayed on that fateful night?  EURICA!!!  HALT THE PRESSES!!! I’ve discovered the answer… buried like hidden treasure, deep in my own heart.  It has come to me over the last week as I’ve asked the LORD to search me and reveal anything that is standing between us. 

Now, I bet you are expecting me to say “division”.  Well, I would like to (and it is part of the answer).  But “division” is too easy.  I can share the blame for division with others; some times even all of it.  Right??  Well, the LORD would have no part in that.  He’s looking for the root cause. 

“Is it unforgiveness?” you might asked.  No, even unforgiveness is just a symptom of the real problem.  Forgiveness is really an easy thing to come by, once you get the hang of it.  It’s just three easy words.  Even the worst enemies can squeeze out a little “I forgive you” every once in a while.  That is, unless they have the same root that I’ve been shown. 

“Okay, okay”, you cry, “Enough build-up already.  Just give us the answer!!” 

“Okay, okay”, I cry back, “Here goes.” 

The real, deep and ugly problem is judgment.  Yes, judgment; plan and simple.  For it is out of judgment that I find it impossible to forgive – truly releasing the other from the debt of my affliction.  It is judgment that leads to division, because I know I am better than the other.  And its judgment that leads to the ignorance we share, in not joining together with our LORD to intercede for the coming of His Bride. 

Yes, you’re right:  “Treasure” was not the best descriptor (I had to keep you guessing).  What the LORD showed me is best described as a toxic dump; hidden amongst the upright and holy self I proclaim to be.  How did I get myself in such a mess?  Better yet, how do I get myself out?   The answer for me, and I suspect for you, is love.  In His grace the LORD showed me that love before judgment is His way.  If I could only love the other before trying to judge him/her, the judgment would end before it started.  Talk about capturing thoughts to the obedience of Christ!  The best net is love; plan and simple. 

But, the truth of the matter is, I just can’t do this “love before judgment” thing.  Thank God, there is a Son of Man, named Jesus Christ, who has offered to reign over me, give me His life and be the power that’s necessary to get it done. 

Praying you will find Him too, 

Rob 

BTW:  My dear friend and spiritual mentor, John Brown, leads a ministry (The 17:23 Initiative) that is focused on Christ’s prayer for unity.  Check out the ministry website at www.1723Initiative.org.