“I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.
“I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!
“O righteous Father, the world doesn’t know you, but I do; and these disciples know you sent me. I have revealed you to them, and I will continue to do so. Then your love for me will be in them, and I will be in them.” (John 17:20-26)
Jesus prayed for all who would follow him, including you and others you know who were born long after his death and resurrection. He prayed for unity (John 17:11), protection from the evil one (John 17:15), and holiness (John 17:17). Knowing that Jesus prayed for us can give us confidence as we work for his Kingdom.
Jesus’ greatest desire for his disciples was that they would become one—a unified body. He wanted them unified as a powerful witness to the reality of God’s love. Jesus prayed for unity among the believers based on the believers’ union with him and the Father. Christians can know unity among themselves if they are living in union with God. For example, each branch living in union with the vine is united with all other branches doing the same (see John 15).
How are you helping to unify the body of Christ? Some actions can include praying for other Christians, building others up through affirmation, working together in humility, giving your time and money, and refusing to get sidetracked arguing over divisive matters. The best way to promote unity is to keep connected to the vine. The Holy Spirit works through you, and keeps your heart softened.