My dad taught me the Lord’s prayer when I was about ten. He wasn’t religious and our family didn’t go to church at that time. However, I remember him standing by my top bunk one night and having me repeat the phrases over and over until I knew it by heart.
When I encountered the risen Jesus a few years later, I understood the “Our Father” a lot better. Then as a new believer I came across The Mark of the Christian by Francis Shaeffer and he taught me about the other “Lord’s Prayer” in John 17. There is a lot in that prayer, but the part that touched me the most is verse 21, where Jesus prays for His followers; “That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in Us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me.”
Shaeffer calls that unity of all believers “the final apologetic” and “the mark of the Christian.” Shaeffer says that; “Jesus is stating: We cannot expect the world to believe that the Father sent the Son, that Jesus’ claims are true, and that Christianity is true, unless the world sees some reality of the oneness of true Christians.”
So how do Christians achieve unity? We don’t. Henry Hon in his book, ONE: Unfolding God’s Eternal Purpose From House To House, puts it this way: “All who abide in the life and nature of God are automatically one in Christ.” If Christ is living in me and also living in you, we have the same life in us and are therefore one in Christ. Our problem is that we far too often get distracted by other things and fail to recognize the heart-to-heart unity that we already have in Christ.
To experience our connection with genuine Christ-followers (of any denomination or organization), all we have to do is to open our hearts to one another and let each other see the living Jesus within us. When we do that, connection is automatic.
Heart-to-heart oneness with other Christ-followers is an amazing thing. Open sharing and testimonies pave the way for that kind of heart connection. Have you ever experienced heart-felt oneness with another Christian? When the world sees Christ-followers experiencing the unity of the Spirit in a world that is full of anger and division, they recognize the reality of the risen Jesus. That’s the ultimate apologetic.
To learn more, search for the two books mentioned in this article. Also here is a 3-minute video about the other Lord’s prayer.