PHOTO: Some of the leaders singing The Apostle's Creed during National Day of Prayer in Albany, New York.
In my hometown, several leaders from varying churches and their congregations gathered in Albany, New York’s South End to beseech God on behalf of the state capital district, our state and country on National Day of Prayer.
The genius of this effort was represented in the first song of worship whose chorus was simply - and powerfully- The Apostle’s Creed. If you can’t sing that as one voice, you might as well not attend.
After that, the officiants offered a prayer on a specific topic such as unity (this year’s NDP theme), leaders, families, the homeless and so on and instructed us to break into small groups of three and pray with people whom we did not know for that area of concern.
Deliberately searching out people in the pews who were unfamiliar was a portal to heaven in the sense that it was like a microcosm of what churches might think of doing: making an effort to understand the various “voices” of other congregations within the greater Body of Christ.
It certainly makes real many of the scriptures that allude to our differences metaphorically making The Body strong, respectful and complete in Jesus.
It’s tempting to think that our church alone has the correct theology, bent and direction. That is, until you hear the “voice” of another saint that expresses their heart before God.
Multiply this effort by hundreds of towns and cities across America and one can see how humility, determination and deliberation could actually pave the way for this year’s theme: unity.
This “one-voice” prayer has got to be pretty irresistible to the perfectly unified Trinity.
PORTAL TO HEAVEN: If the throngs of heaven have one voice in the adoration and worship of Jesus, might not the same thing here on earth open up portals to heaven for the great sake of the marching timeline of The Lamb of God?
I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.…Keep reminding God's people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen.…those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable…I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
1 Corinthians 1:10 NIV, 2 Timothy 2:14 NIV, 1 Corinthians 12:22 NIV, John 17:22,23 NIV