Jesus did not pray for unity among His followers for the sake of efficiency, although disunity is a serious impediment to effective action. Jesus prayed for unity among his subsequent followers, too. Notice that contemporary believers are included in the prayer: we are the ones who have believed through the word of the disciples.
So, Jesus prays for our oneness too, and for the same reasons: not efficiency but efficacy.
Jesus prays first that the world might believe. He prays second that the world might know that God had sent him and that God loved him. What is striking is that Jesus puts this coming to believe and coming to know not just reliance on the cogency of the Word and message, but in relation to the unity among and between those who minister the Word. Unity then becomes part of the power of persuasion that the gospel can work the work of reconciliation. The unity demonstrated among the disciples was, in a way, to carry the force of reason to believe, to commit oneself to the gospel. Unity, in other words, has the force of a cogent argument.
What is the case being made? That the world might believe and know that Jesus is on God’s business and that God loved him. The implication is that unity among the followers of Jesus makes the case that the mission did not die with Jesus and that the mission cannot be done as projects of individuals. Individuals can direct a hunger program, develop a neighborhood clinic, or set up a tutoring service. But individual witnessing, no matter how sincere, cannot hold a candle to the power of the witness of alienated peoples being reconciled in the name of Christ. The reunification of people is the trophy of gospel witness. Evil has no match for such graced evidence of new hearts, changed minds, and reoriented lives.
Love INC is not a Christian congregation, but when workers from diverse church histories, inherited suspicions, and religious stereotypes come face to face they are facing more than each other. Between them is Jesus Christ – the One whom God sent and the One whom God loved.
In effect, Jesus asked God to keep Love INC workers safe in the Word they share together so that the world may know that God sent Jesus and loved Him. This same God, the Sponsor of Jesus Christ, the patron of His mission is, through Jesus, the patron and sponsor of those who belong to Him. Jesus prays for the unity of Love INC workers so that the world may believe and know that the same God who sent and loved Him wants the circle of that knowing and believing expanded. The single most effective and persuasive reason for the witness of Love INC to be taken with utmost seriousness is that they are one.
–Thoughts taken from Love INC’s “Meditations on the Core Values” by Dr. John Weborg