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A STEP TOWARD REVIVAL AND UNITY IN THE BODY

page 2

By David A. J. Seargent

 

Opening prayer

 

We suggest the following opening prayer for each session, or one very similar.  Please pray it slowly and reflectively:

"Loving Heavenly Father, we pray that by your Holy Spirit, we your people may be moved to take hold of the deep unity that you have so graciously given us already in your Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

          Mould your church into a living unity transcending race, class, denomination and all else that divides us and continues to tear apart the Body of Christ in this age.

          We thank you for that immeasurable love through which, in the Cross of your dear Son, you made possible our unity in his Body, the church, and we stand in awe as we contemplate both the joy of the privilege of being a part of his Body and the responsibility of being the arms, legs and mouth of Christ in today's world.

          Forgive us the sin of forgetting this great fact. Forgive us the blasphemy of so often treading underfoot your mighty gift as we allow worldly divisions and prejudices to set us against our fellow Christians, and thereby tear asunder Christ's body and frustrate your work of reconciling the world to yourself and its people to each other in your family.  Forgive us for continually going our own way and following our own plans and desires.

          Remove from us all worldliness and pride, from which strife and division proceed.  Lead us always to put your will before our own plans and desires.  Mercifully grant us true repentance and so lead us to experience that glorious fellowship and profound unity of spirit, mind and will enjoyed by our brothers and sisters in Christ long ago in the early days of the first church.  In Jesus name we earnestly pray.  Amen."

 

A Time of Self Examination

Reflect on the past week, asking ourselves whether there have been times of spiritual growth or of stumbling.  What has assisted our growth?  What has been a cause of stumbling?  Have we been faithful witnesses of Christ?  Commit this to the Lord quietly in personal prayer.

          Move then to silent meditation on a short passage of the Bible.  Please follow the four meditations listed below (one for each session) for the first four sessions.  It is also advisable to periodically keep returning to them, as they are very important.

          Simply dwell upon the passage in complete silence, placing all in God's hands.  Ask him to deepen your understanding of the passage and to engraft it into your spirit.  Waiting in silence, you may receive an illumination from God or hear the "still small voice" speaking to you.

          Try to remain in meditation for at least ten minutes, longer if possible.  You may wish to remain in meditation for half an hour or more.  In the beginning, meditating for ten minutes or a little less may only be possible, until the group gets used to this spiritual exercise.  

 

A Time of Reflection, Application and, if in a group, Sharing

Reflect on what you have experienced in the time of meditation.  Have you been granted some insight that you can put into practice in your church, family, place of work, etc.?

          In a group, this will be a time of mutual sharing and maybe of shared plans for the practical application of experiences.

 

A Time of Group Prayer

Individually, not in any particular order, but as inspiration moves you, bring what you have shared to the Lord in open prayer, the doors that need opening that would bring greater unity to the Body of Christ, or help you fulfill some step in that process in your local area and church.  Why prayer?  Because we can do nothing on our own.  Whatever the Lord reveals to us during our time of meditation needs to be brought to him in prayer.  And praying as a group is extremely powerful.  He told his disciples "that when two or three of you are gathered in my name, whatsoever you ask, it shall be done."  Each of you, perhaps coming from different denominations, knows of prejudices either your church or denomination has, some tied to doctrines or religious preferences, that divide and build a wall of prejudice against accepting Christians of other Holy Spirit led and inspired denominations.  Bringing these revelations to the Lord in group prayer will be a powerful step to bridging the gaps and divides in the Body.  Personally, I know of how three men walked around the campus of the college of one denomination, praying for them to come to an understanding that there were other genuine Christian denominations that truly were indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  Miraculously, without any outward actions being taken by these three men, over a period of ten years, their prayers were powerfully answered.  So this is a time to bring what the Lord has revealed to you in your meditation to prayer. 

 

Closing prayers

A suitable closing prayer, for a group, may be:

"We thank you Lord Jesus for our time of fellowship this day and we ask that you will remain with us as we pursue our separate lives, that we be ever mindful of remaining in you and you in us and that through our mutual union with you in the Holy Spirit.  And let us remain one Family of the Father, one Body of the Son, one Temple of the Holy Spirit, and one unified church through all three.  Amen.     The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit, be with us all evermore.  Amen" (2 Cor. 13:14).

 

Choosing a Facilitator

During the first meeting or first few meetings, chose out a member of the group that would be willing to facilitate the meetings.  Understand, God is in charge of the meetings. The facilitator would read the main Scripture passage for that meeting at the beginning of the meeting, just prior to the meditative portion of the meeting. Understand, this facilitator is merely ensuring proper order of events, moving the group from one part of the meeting to the next, gently learning to judge when the meditative section has concluded (perhaps quietly asking for a show of hands after ten, fifteen minutes, and later, half an hour as people get used to meditating, when people have finish meditating on the subject of that particular session.  Then the facilitator will move the group into the sharing portion of the meeting, and then into the group-prayer portion, where each individual will bring his thoughts and whatever the Lord has revealed to him or her about how he, the Lord, can best do something to enhance unity in the Body (in line with the particular main topic of that particular session, i.e. session 1, "holiness", 2, "Jesus is Lord", 3, "you are the body of Christ.", and 4, ".there is neither Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised [Torah observant or non-Torah observant], barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all."   He may also choose out opening Scriptures for the group to meditate on as it moves through the various meditations, week by week, month by month.  The facilitator should also maintain a prayer-journal for the group, recording what each person basically prayed about during each meeting.  Then when the session is near the end, try to include elements of each prayer request in the closing prayer.  The group's prayer-journal will prove to be a huge encouragement, as the Lord answers the prayers of the group.

"Two short prayer requests should always be included with the closing prayer: "Please Lord, add to the numbers of this group, blessing the growth of this unity meditative prayer-group, and others as they form up around the world. Also, please bless UNITYINCHRIST.COM so that it may increase in its ability to provide nourishment through the written Word of God." Also when a group reaches 15 in number, the last five to join should then become a group of their own, a facilitator being chosen and prayed over. This way, group size will never become unmanageable."

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