I have already written a few posts about the importance of praying alone and in secrecy. Today, it may seem as though I am contradicting myself as I write about the importance of corporate prayer; however, while the majority of our prayer life should be between ourselves and God there is a time when we need to come together and pray for a common or corporate need. There are several biblical examples of Israel fasting and praying together for a great need such as in the book of Esther and I plan to look at some of those examples in later posts. For today, let’s look at what Jesus said about unity; please turn to Matthew 18:19-20.
I think sometimes these verses get misused and an important point gets missed: “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for…” This is something that needs attention; when we are praying corporately, we need to be in agreement. I have been in groups or committees where we all had different ideas that we wanted implemented; however, the one thing we could agree on was that we wanted to do what God wanted done. So we prayed exactly for that very thing; we prayed that God would give us discernment and understanding of the direction we should be taking. It would not do any good to be praying for our own ideas while praying corporately because there is not going to be an agreement. We need to start where we all agree: we want God’s will to be done!
I also think that it is important to consider that the context that these verses are in is a point when Jesus was talking about how to handle a situation when someone has sinned against you. These verses are mentioned at a point when Christ talked about the church stepping in and dealing with the situation after other efforts were made. To me, it seems that Jesus was speaking about the need for unity among believers; when there is unity He is there. Once again, two or more believers need to be together praying in agreement for God’s will not their own will. We cannot miss the point that we need to be praying within God’s will; we cannot just gather together and pray for something we all agree about and expect to get it. I think we would all agree that it would be great to suddenly come into a large sum of money; however, if this is not what God wants for us we can’t just say that He will do it because there are two or more people together that agree. When we look at these verses with the thought that we can ask for anything, we are missing a bigger picture!
Please look at what Paul said about unity in Philippians 2:1-4 and in Philippians 2:12-15. Unity in life, purpose, and prayer are the key ingredients to be bound together with Christ. When we participate in corporate prayer and a unified purpose with fellow believers we are binding together with Christ. Please look at what Jesus says in Matthew 18:18, “I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth have been loosed in heaven.” Then He talks about how we become bound with Him in our unity in verses 19-20.
Do you gather in unity to ask that God’s will be done? Are you praying for His will or your own?