Jesus prays, “I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one” (John 17:20-22).

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. On the side is inscribed:
“Out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope,” a quote from his “Dream” speech.

Monday, January 18, marks the beginning of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. As Jesus prays for unity among His followers in John 17, so we pray for unity among those around the world who follow Jesus, as we also pray for unity in our nation.

These are difficult and divisive times, and many folks are experiencing division and disunity with family members and among longtime friends. Our local schools, parishes, and state and local governments are experiencing conflict and strife. And national anxiety is high as we prepare to inaugurate a new President of the United States on Wednesday, January 20.

So where do we begin? We begin where Jesus begins, with a prayer for unity and peace. Pray for the unity that only God can bring in your personal daily devotions. Pray as a family that God will bring healing to those who live in discord. Pray together as a parish, by holding a prayer service or a prayer vigil this week. I know that Trinity Lutheran Church in Findlay, is holding a virtual 12-hour prayer vigil on Tuesday, January 19.

As Jesus prayed a prayer of unity for His followers, so might we pray for that same gift of unity in our families, parishes, communities, nation, and world. And may Almighty God hear our many prayers and lead us to that place of selfless love and sacred accord.