For several years, a Lutheran pastor friend of mine and his church had been crying out to God for revival. During prayer one day he felt the Lord speak to his heart, “I cannot give you what you are asking for, because if I do, you will use it against the other churches in town.”
“What do You mean, Lord?” asked the pastor.
The Lord impressed on the pastor that he was already in the habit of telling people that his congregation was the best church in town. If God gave them a serious spiritual outpouring it could easily cause them to become even more haughty.
“God, I didn’t realize. What should we do?” he asked.
The pastor immediately knew the answer: Pray for the Methodist church down the road.
He confided to me that this was probably the most difficult thing God had ever asked of him. At that point in his life he would have rather been martyred than to pray for revival to come to a Methodist church. However, he was obedient and began to pray for the church. Within a few months the Methodist church had a new pastor and revival broken out. Within two years their attendance had tripled.
Through all of this the Lord taught the Lutheran pastor a very serious lesson about unity and prayer. God is not so much interested in blessing our little projects. He wants to bless the Church. Not a particular denomination. Not a particular congregation of people. The Body of Christ.