O God of all mankind,
You created us to enjoy Your presence. You long to be near to everyone You have made. Your desire has always been for Your people to be at home with You and for You to be at home with them. You are faithful, Lord, inviting us into fellowship with You and into unity with one another.
However, we have rejected Your invitation. You offered us the greatest privilege – to be near You. Yet we have chosen the greatest curse – to be far from You. The foolish choice to reject the invitation to be close to You also caused human beings to divide from one another.
Woe is me! I participated with the rest of humanity. My sin made a separation between You and me. My willful, wrong choices caused You to hide Your face from me. Just as Adam was banished from the Garden because of his sin, so I too have suffered alienation from You and from others. Without Your rescuing grace, I would be headed to an eternal separation in hell forever.
You, however, did not leave me alone. You did what was seemingly impossible. Before Christ, I was excluded from citizenship among Your people. I did not know the covenant promises You had made. I lived in this world without You and without hope. But because of Christ – shedding His blood for my forgiveness and dying on the cross so I could have new life – I, who was once far off, have been brought near.
You made Jesus to be our peace. He tore down the walls between people, the divisions that kept us at a distance from one another. The hostility between various groups of people has now been broken. Jesus takes two who are at war – Jew and Gentile, black and white, men and women, young and old, East and West, North and South – and makes us one in peace.
This is why I praise You for the cross. Christ brought me and people quite unlike me together through His death on the cross. The cross enables me to embrace those who are different and kills any hostility lurking in my heart.
Thank You that Christ came and preached peace to me, someone who was far away from You, and to those who were near. Thank You that we all share the same Spirit and have equal access to You, Father.
Now, help me today to show and share Your message – that no matter who someone is or what they have done – the cross of Christ is the way we can all be reconciled to God and to one another. Put an end, Lord, to the divisions we experience because ethnicity, nationality, upbringing, economic status, or any other earthly distinction that wrongly separates us. Tear down the walls between us through the power of the risen Christ.
This prayer is based on the truths found in Ephesians 2:11-18. Some of the words and phrases are taken directly from the English Standard Version, The Living Bible, The Message, and the New Living Translation of the Bible.