November 25, 2021
Long, long ago, "God blessed Noah and his sons and said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth". Noah's descendants decided instead to settle on a plain in Shinar and "build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be dispersed over the face of the whole earth.” God knew they were intent on false worship and understood that because "they are one people, and they have all one language...this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them" (Genesis 9:1; 11:4, 6). So He confused their communication, making them speak many different languages, and dispersed them across the earth.
Much, much later, Jesus prayed for a kind of oneness that would honour God: that "those who will believe in Me...may all be one, just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You have sent Me" (John 17:20-21). He followed up His prayer by promising to send the Holy Spirit. As His disciples gathered together in one place, the promised Spirit came as tongues of fire that settled on them and enabled them to speak in the native languages of "every nation under heaven" (Acts 1:8; 2:1-5, 8-11).
I was thinking about the power of oneness displayed when great numbers of Muslims pray set prayers at set times in one language (Arabic) continuously around the globe. Don't think it lacks power. It has the same kind of power God recognized and averted at Babel—the work of people united by one purpose. What the Father is looking for is worshipers who worship in Spirit and in truth (John 4:23-24). That is the only route to the kind of oneness Jesus prayed for.
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:5-6)
"For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink." (1 Corinthians 12:13)
Jesus, we declare that You are the way, the truth and the life. We thank You for access to the Father through Your blood by Your Spirit (John 14:6, 3:5-6, Ephesians 2:18).
We lay down all our desire and intent to do things our own way.
By Your grace, we humble ourselves and submit to one another in love.
We invite You to lead us by Your Spirit.
"Only let [our] manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that [we may stand] firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, not frightened in anything...." (Philippians 1:27-28a)
Spirit, we ask You to be present with Muslims in their prayer times to convict them (John 16:8-11)...
Concerning sin because Jesus says that not believing in Him, the one whom the Father sent, is sin (John 5:24; 6:28-29);
Concerning righteousness because it comes from above where Jesus is seated with the Father, "out of their sight and control" (John 16:10a MSG);
Concerning judgment because the works of the evil one have already been judged according to Jesus' own purity and perfection (1 John 3:8, Revelation 5:9).
We believe Your word, that we will join in worship with all of heaven and with countless former Muslims singing,
"To Him who sits on the throne and unto the Lamb
be blessing and honour and glory and power for ever and ever!" (Revelation 5:13)