40 Days of Prayer 2024: Day 27

Today, we are on Day 27, and our second day focusing on the practice of Community with Jesus.

(You can catch up on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, Day 6, Day 7, Day 8, Day 9, Day 10, Day 11, Day 12, Day 15, Day 17, Day 18, Day 19, Day 20, Day 21, Day 22, Day 23, Day 24, Day 25, Day 26 if you missed them)

Koinonia —Fellowship

When we talk about Christian community, or fellowship, we are talking about relationships that are deeper than casual acquaintances. We all belong to one body in Christ. The word translated fellowship in the New Testament is κοινωνία  koinonia, meaning the union of believers that is the natural result of union with Christ. This is deeper than people who share the same interests or jobs or live in the same area. In fact, we see God specifically bringing very different people together in unity.

Those outside of Christ might divide themselves along political, socioeconomic, or ideological lines—the us versus them divisions. But we do not have that option. As followers of Jesus, we are called to a unity. We are united by our love for Him in order to bring that love to each other and the world.

20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. John 17:20-23

With Jesus, as He prayed the prayer above, were those He called to live in koinonia together who were not only different—they were different in ways that would be specifically in opposition to one another.  Their personalities temperaments, ideologies and backgrounds seem to have been specifically chosen by Jesus to show just how diverse but united His followers must be. There is no way around it—to be with Jesus we must be in unity with each other, no matter how different we are.

One of the greatest things about the Church, the Body of Christ, is how diverse we are. We are made up of all nations, tribes and tongues, with different strengths and perspectives. Anyone can unite with others who are like them, but it takes God to have true koinonia unity with people on opposing sides. This is the Church, the body of Christ!

Very different 12 disciples

We see with the 12 disciples how the Lord loves to bring very different people together in unity to show the world what He is like. Jesus chose people with very different personalities, socioeconomic, ideological, and political backgrounds. We are 2,000 years removed from the culture in their day and age, so we can easily miss it and we certainly don’t have the emotion connected to the differences in society.

Jesus brought together Simon and Matthew—a Zealot who sought to overthrow the illegal occupation by Rome by violence and force, and tax collector, a Jewish man who chose to align with Rome against his own people for his own profit. You can’t have more opposed than that. Jesus gathered around Himself, a group that would have been ripe with relational tension for various differences.  And yet, to be with Him required them to be in koinonia community with each other.

It’s the same with us today. There is no version of being with Jesus that does not stick us with others as well,  with others that we didn’t choose and likely others that we would never be around if not for Jesus. This is the beauty of life with Him! We come together in our love for Jesus. The world can draw dividing lines and choose who is us and who is them. The world can demonize the “other.” But followers of Jesus are called to a higher standard, a more excellent way. We aren’t called to agree on all subjects or become the same. Together, we are becoming like Christ with all our beautiful diversity. Like Simon and Matthew, we are called to something greater.

We are not called to uniformity—we are called to unity. A unity that comes from the all-encompassing love of God that pours out overflowing from us to each other. There are no dividing lines in the body of Christ.  We are called to a unity that rises above our socioeconomic, political, ideological, and denominational dividing lines— above our strengths and weaknesses, our personalities and professions.

Reflection for prayer and/or journaling:

In this age of computer algorithms that feed us what we already know and want, it’s easy to only come across people who look and think just like us. It’s easy to stay in our bubbles and only choose those we find easy to get along with. Is there anyone in your life who might be the Simon to your Matthew? The John to your Peter?

Action steps:

Did anyone come to mind as you read this passage today? Someone different from yourself? Pray for them today. Ask God to bless them. You’re not asking God to change their minds to become more like you, but to bless them. See if there are any seeds of true koinonia community and friendship you can plant.

Pray together:

Father, let us be one as you are one. Give us eyes that see your image in others and tender hearts that seek your will in community with those different from ourselves. Help us love each other as you have loved us. Help us rise above the lines the world would have us draw to divide us and fulfill your calling to be one in Christ.  In the name of Jesus, we pray together. Amen.

♥ Samantha