Prayer for the City

Church Unity and Mission

This devotional is written by Matt Coombs. Matt is one of the leaders at St Mary's and it married to Pip. They have a son called Caleb.

1 Corinthians 12:12-27

Unity and diversity in the body

12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptised by[a] 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. 14 And so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

15 Now if the foot should say, 'Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, 'Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,' it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

21 The eye cannot say to the hand, 'I don't need you!' And the head cannot say to the feet, 'I don't need you!' 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.


The Psalmist says that unity with others is "good" and "pleasant" (Ps 133:1). For Paul in this passage unity is essential. He uses the metaphor of a body to describe the church, and a body cannot be in disunity or disharmony with itself. While all different, with varying gifts, personalities, strengths, weaknesses and priorities. Jesus' plan for His church is people unified in the faith. Holding the tension of our difference.

Today, let's pray for our unity as a church community. Let's ask the Holy Spirit to fill us and help us exhibit the fruit of his Spirit as we interact with one another.

Is there someone who has been really annoying you at church? Take a moment to pray for them, that they would know God's love. That's a harder prayer than you think, because what you want to pray is that God would change their annoying behaviour. Could you pray asking God to help you love them?

But also let's pray for the Church BIG C. There are tonnes and tonnes of churches across this city trying to spread the word that Jesus is alive. Some in the Square Mile, some on estates, some in leafy suburbs. Pray for them as they begin this new term; for Alpha, Christianity Explored courses, for the new small groups and church plants and missional communities and social justice projects. Jesus said "May they all be one. Father, may they be one in us, as you are in me and I am in you, so that the world may believe that it was you who sent me." John 17: 20 - 21. Disunity weakens our witness to the world, prayer strengthens the bonds of love.

Father God, you have called us to be your hands and feet here on earth and continue the work of reconciliation and reveal you to the world: forgive us the sins which tear us apart; give us your Spirit and the courage to overcome our fears and to seek that unity which is your gift and your will; In Jesus name, Amen

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