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The Prayer That Takes Love

Why do we Christians get known more for our squabbling than our love? Why do we get caught up in our differences?

Prayer blogger Rick Hamlin

“That we all may be one.” We say that prayer almost every Sunday. The other Sunday as we were saying it, something clicked in me and I thought, Wow. This prayer is a huge challenge for all of us Christians.

In America, there are hundreds of denominations and non-denominations, thousands of churches and millions of believers. In the world, there are some 2.2 billion Christians. According to a recent report from the Pew think tank, sub-Saharan Africa has grown from 9% to 63% Christian. Wow.

But why do we Christians get known more for our squabbling than our love? Why do we get caught up in our differences? I find I need to be very careful when disagreeing with someone whose faith I share. If I have made my point brilliantly, quoting chapter and verse, but failed to love them, then I have failed. Recently I served on the board of our church. I used to tell myself regularly after meetings, “If we have balanced the budget but failed to love each other, we have failed.”

There are a lot of people who would like to capitalize on our differences. I become wary when I see “evangelical Christian” used as a quick label. Of course I am evangelical. To believe the good news is to want to spread it. But am I that label some journalist is giving me? I prefer the term my friend Neil Warren uses: passionate Christian. To be a passionate Christian is to love, and that’s what counts most.

I love going to other churches. I love hearing the gospel preached in new ways, sung differently, celebrated differently. I’m grateful that Guideposts has been broadly ecumenical from the very start. God’s love is the power behind every story we publish (and occasionally even God seems to want to remain anonymous).

We used to sing a song in our high school church youth group, guitars strumming: “They’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love,” the refrain repeated just as a reminder. Seems like the only way to say that prayer: “That we all may be one.”        

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