A Prayer for Helping Conflicting Friends Work for Peace
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Eph 4:1-3
If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Rom. 12:18
See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. Heb 12:15
Dear Lord Jesus, there are times when your faithful servants, and beloved children, don’t see eye to eye on very important matters. Our best efforts at keeping “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph 4:3) get stressed and tested; stretched and broken. Differing perspectives lead to sharp disagreements, and sharp disagreements can lead to the parting of ways. This happens in marriages, among good friends, on the mission field, in local churches, on church staffs, and in seminary boardrooms.
This morning I’m bringing three current expressions of this very scenario before your throne of grace. My heart’s heavy, but not as heavy as it would be if I didn’t believe you to be the Prince of Peace—if I didn’t believe in the power of the gospel—if I didn’t know that your name is Redeemer and Restorer. Here’s my prayer for friends in the throes of turmoil.
Lord Jesus, may seeking first your kingdom and your righteousness far outweigh any other seeking in these situations—seeking to win, seeking to be right, seeking to avoid pain, seeking to get even, seeking to get our own way. It’s your glory and story that matter the most, not ours.
Help us to recognize, and resist, the schemes of Satan in these conflicts. He hates you, your followers, your church. He is passionately committed to destroying every expression of beauty, and gospel reality, among your people. Help my friends keep the main issues in view and not get drawn into biting and devouring one another (Gal. 5:13-15). Life is too short to get petty, act mean and stay hardened.
May friends who see the issues so differently still honor one another as family and beloved servants of Jesus. How we handle our conflicts is just as important as the issues which generate our conflicts—maybe even more important at times. Help friends discern the difference between essentials and non-essentials, and in all things, “act in line with the truth of the gospel”.
Even as you redeemed the painful story between Paul and Barnabas (Acts 15:36-40; 2 Tim. 4), so bring redemption in these broken stories which are breaking my heart. So very Amen I pray with sadness, but trusting in your powerful name.