Pray Always for Grace to Work With God
Meditation for Day 6 of Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
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VATICAN CITY, JAN. 22, 2008 (Zenit.org).- Here is the commentary prepared jointly by the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity and the Commission on Faith and Order of the World Council of Churches for Wednesday, the sixth day of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
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"Rejoice always, pray without ceasing" (1 Thessalonians 5: 16)
"David's prayer of praise and rejoicing" (2 Samuel 7:18-29)
"Incline your ear, O Lord" (Psalm 86)
"Rejoice always" (1 Thessalonians 5:12a, 13b-18)
"The sending of the seventy-two" (Luke 10:1-24)
In prayer we are aligning our wills to the will of God and so participating in the fulfillment of his purpose. We need the Holy Spirit to change the hearts of believers, so that we have the grace to work with God and become part of his mission and his goal of unity. As we pray for this without ceasing we are aware that "more workers are needed for the harvest." At many ecumenical gatherings, and particularly at the annual National Workshop on Christian Unity in the USA, it is recognized that if the ecumenical movement is to prosper today and in the next generation, more young people need to be drawn into it. We need more workers to experience the joy of praying to be part of the work of God.
The readings for Day 6 give us insight into what it means to work for the sake of the Gospel.
David, amazed that he might be part of the plan to build a magnificent temple for the Lord, asks, "Can God indeed dwell on earth?" then concludes, "Now therefore may it please you to bless the house of your servant, so that it may continue forever before you."
The psalmist prays, "Teach me your way, O Lord, that I may walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart to revere your name. I will give thanks to you, O Lord my God, with my whole heart, and I will glorify your name forever."
In the sending of the seventy-two, Jesus confirms that through his disciples, and those who would come to believe in him through their word, his peace and the news that "the kingdom of God has come near to you" would be proclaimed to the world. At their joyful return, despite rejection, Jesus rejoices at their success in the submission of the evil spirits in his name: the message is never to cease, never to give up.
God's will is for his people to be one. Like the Christians in Thessalonica, we are urged to "rejoice always" and "pray without ceasing," trusting that as we commit ourselves wholly to working with God, his purpose of unity will finally be fulfilled.
Lord God, in the perfect unity of your being, keep our hearts so burning with the desire and hope for unity that we will never stop working for the sake of your gospel. We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.