No promise could be plainer than the one Jesus gives in Matthew 18:19: “It will be done for you by my Father in heaven.” On every package sent out by a certain printer in a large city is an impressive trademark. It is simply a circle, within which are his name and the words “I never disappoint.” Every promise the Lord Jesus ever made bears that same legend.
“Praying about a matter with one or more prayer partners makes a powerful and eternal impact in the spiritual realm.”
Can you trust God’s promises to you? Second Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” Let us tell you Eraina’s story. Her story should give each of us hope that the Lord hears and answers our prayers.
One of Eraina’s biggest prayer burdens was for her husband, Skeeter, to be saved. She lived a godly life in front of Skeeter, and he would often tell us so. We agreed with her in prayer for his salvation.
Month after month and year after year Eraina fervently prayed for Skeeter. At times her faith wavered—she would get discouraged and wonder if perhaps God had even forgotten her prayers. But God isn’t forgetful. The only thing He ever forgets is the sin we confess and turn from. (Read Isaiah 43:25.) He hears and remembers our prayers. In fact, He saves both our tears and our prayers. (Read Psalm 56:8; Revelation 8:3–5.) So when Eraina experienced her lowest moments, we would pray together for Skeeter, reminding her that God had His perfect timing.
The perfect timing for Skeeter came in 1997, when he called inviting us to dinner. He said he had something important to ask us.
Wow, we were excited! As our church rallied together to pray, we went to their house for a delicious dinner. The evening was quickly passing with pleasantries and small talk. Finally we bluntly asked Skeeter why he had invited us over. He said, “I love God. But there is something different in my wife and in the two of you that I don’t have, and I want it. What is it?”
I (Eddie) explained, “Skeeter, it’s really quite simple. You know what it is to have God with you… we have God in us.”
“Then what do I do?” he asked. And in mere moments God’s promise to Eraina (and to us) became reality as Skeeter was wonderfully saved.
Question: What are three situations about which you are currently praying and which you would like to see fulfilled according to the promise of Matthew 18:19?
What would be the results?
How would you like to see God respond?
Would you be willing to accept fulfillment of His promise—even if the result is different than you anticipate it will be in each case?
When Jesus states, “For where two or three come together…,” we begin to move from the power of partnership to the power of proximity.
Perhaps you have experienced a dry and boring corporate prayer meeting at one time or another. We can assure you, that will usually be the case when people fail to come together to pray. “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matt. 18:20, emphasis added).
For years I (Eddie) had the joy of participating in a weekly pastors’ prayer meeting that would last from two to three hours. When we began, we met in the church auditorium, gathering together at the altar area to pray. Typically we would sit on the front row, the steps or the stage. We were almost within arms reach of each other. God’s presence was awesome! At times we literally basked in His glory! We rarely had a dry time.
After a couple of years, we began to loosen up our configuration. One of the pastors prayed best when he was walking, so he walked along the side of the auditorium. Another felt he focused best by lying prostrate before the Lord, so he secured a spot on the floor, apart from the group. A third liked to sit alone in the center of the auditorium. Over a period of months we noticed that we seldom sensed the Lord’s anointing in the same way we had felt it earlier. Oh, we had no doubt that God was with us or that He was hearing us. But frankly, we weren’t hearing Him as clearly, nor were we experiencing the blessing of His presence.
One morning we “compared notes” and acknowledged our loss. As we analyzed the situation, what had happened soon became clear: We had elevated our personal preferences in prayer over our corporate experience in prayer. When people come to a church prayer meeting and sit in various spots around the auditorium, you can almost rest assured that their experience in prayer will be less than what they hoped for. However, when they come into the auditorium and move to the front, sitting closely together, they can approach the throne as one person (unity). In this configuration they are most likely to have a powerful experience in prayer! After all, it is together that we are the bride of Christ!