Summary: Christ calls us to pray in agreement with God and one another.
Today, I want to speak to you about the power of agreeing prayer. Jesus speaks of the importance of agreement in verse 19 of our passage. Agreeing prayer begins with:
1. Praying in agreement with God - v. 18
In verse 19, Jesus says, “Again, I tell you.” What is Jesus referring to that He says He had already mentioned? He is referring to what He had said in verse 18.
“I tell you the truth, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”- Matthew 18:18 (NIV)
Now this translation of this verse makes it sound like God is at our beckon call. That we are to tell Him what to do. But that is a misunderstanding of the passage. In the NIV, there are footnotes that reveal that another translation is equally possible for this passage. A translation that is used, for example, in the NASB:
“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.” - Matthew 18:18 (NASB)
The idea is that God has issued some heavenly decrees concerning things that are bound and loosed, and He wants His people to take the initiative to enforce those decrees on earth. You see, believers have authority delegated to them by Christ, to enforce on earth that which God has decreed in heaven. It is by Christ’s authority that we are to carry on the work of the church. Now, this is significant, as we consider how our Lord says we are to gather together as believers. Verse 20 of our text tells us:
“For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” - Matthew 18:20 (NIV)
Jesus says we are to gather “in His name,” which is a reference to appreciating the authority we have been delegated by our Lord.
When Columbus discovered America, he claimed the newly discovered lands in the name of the king and queen of Spain. In doing so, he exercised the authority delegated to him by those he represented.
Likewise, we are called on to operate in prayer on the basis of the authority delegated to us by our Lord. How? By praying in agreement with God. But how do we pray in agreement with God?
By being . . .
A. Informed by the Scripture.
As we grow in our understanding of God’s Word, we learn more and more about the nature of the victory that Christ has won for us!
“Everything that goes into a life of pleasing God has been miraculously given to us by getting to know, personally and intimately, the One who invited us to God. The best invitation we ever received! We were also given absolutely terrific promises .77to pass on to you—your tickets to participation in the life of God after you turned your back on a world corrupted by lust.” - 2 Peter 1:3-4 (The Message)
On October 5th, 2005, the Today show featured a story by Michelle Kosinski, reporting on location about floods in New Jersey. She was canoeing in what looked to be in deep water. However, as the segment began, two men walked in front of her in what looked to be only a few inches of water. Kosinski attempted to brush this off, however Katie and Matt couldn’t stop laughing about the situation.
Too many believers today are posers, as well, with respect to our knowledge of the Word of God. And like Katie and Matt, the devil is laughing. The key to having your life transformed by the power of God is to make sure you are informed about the promises of God!
Through the Scripture, we are informed about what authority is ours’ to exercise in prayer. But We need to also pray as we are. . .
B. Inspired by the Spirit.
“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.” - Ephesians 6:18 (NIV)
This is praying at the level of inter-acting with God. Allowing the Spirit to guide us in applying the promises of Scripture to any given situation. As the Spirit leads us to exercise the authority the Scripture informs us is ours, we experience tactical victories!
“Therefore he is able to save completely those who come to God through him, because he always lives to intercede for them.” - Hebrews 7:25 (NIV)
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints in accordance with God’s will.” - Romans 8:26-27 (NIV)