September 2, 2012
"The Power of United Prayer"
Read Matthew 18:19-20.
(19) "If any two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done
for you by my Father in heaven. (20) For where two or three come together in my
name, there am I with them."
First, our Lord Jesus Christ knew the importance of prayer when He
gave these words of instruction. 1) "If two of you" (19) - "where two or three"
(20). This is a general phrase; it is not limited to a handful of disciples; it
means "more than one." The church does not depend on numbers, but on the power of
the risen Christ. When the church gathers to meet with Christ, they multiply each
other's faith and are multiplied in power by Christ who said "there am I with them."
(20). 2) "Come together" (20). This is not to discount individual prayers.
We are individuals and "secret prayer" (with the "door shut") is a necessary requirement
and resource. We don't know another person's heart, but God does. According to Matthew 6:5-8, we must avoid hypocritical prayer. We are also
social beings. Our private prayer without corporate prayer would wither
like a leaf without its tree. Christ came to create" the beloved community" where
individuals strengthen each other. Corporate prayer has a special light and joy
to strengthen each other. 3) Some examples of corporate prayer are: "They
all joined together constantly in prayer," (Acts 1:14). "They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching
and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer" (Acts 2:42). "When they heard this, they raised their voices
together in prayer to God." (Acts 4:23-24).
Second, our Lord gave us three conditions of prayer. 1) We are to
pray "in my (Jesus') name." This means that our prayers are "based on Christ's
authority" to accomplish His will and purpose on earth. Illustration:
If two of us went to the Bank to ask for a loan for ourselves versus a loan for
the church. 2) We must "agree": (Greek, symphonius), or be in tune with God
and with each other. Before a symphony, the concert master plays an "A" on his violin
so that all the other players are able to tune their instruments to that "A." Disharmony
(discord) is the result of instruments out of tune with the major instrument and
with each other. Hebrews 12:12-15 urges us to watch out for negative attitudes.
3) "Concerning anything that they ask." This does not mean trifles or nonsense,
but God's "good gifts" such as salvation, filling with the Holy Spirit, boldness
in speaking and witnessing and teaching, bearing the fruit of Spirit and the gifts
of the Spirit.
Third, Our Lord gave us the assurance of prayer. 1) "It will be done
for them by My Father in heaven" (19). The church moves on its knees. God
wants to accomplish His purpose in us, but we must be in tune with Him and cooperate
with Him for His will to be done. 2) "There I am with them" (20). This is
our rock of confidence and encouragement for all time and in all things. "And surely
I am with you always, to the very end of the age" (Matthew 28:20).