May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.Romans 15:5-6 ESV
The Prayers of Paul have been favorite subjects of mine for many years. This year I have been looking carefully at the ministry of Paul and how he approached his leadership role toward the churches. Prayer was a big part of what he did. It’s interesting to see what he prayed for them. One of Paul’s major themes in writing to the churches was the damage that is done by division among believers. It’s hard to overstate his aversion to it. It hurts people, it hurts the church, and it hurts the cause of Christ.
In this short passage, Paul invokes God in bringing the Roman believers (who were fighting over several things. Read Chapters 12-14.) into one accord. This translation asks that they live in harmony with one another because that’s the way of Jesus Christ. This is necessary for them to glorify God. The Name of God is not glorified by our bitterness, quarrels, or spite. It’s our love for one another that tells the world we’re His disciples. I’m reminded of another passage where Paul was begging the Philippians to treat one another with grace:
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Philippians 2:1-4 ESV
Before you head for church today, pray for your church family that they will be free from strife, living in harmony, and glorifying God. It’s important!