Summary: Power is found in praying in agreement with God and with my fellow Christians.
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. It is interesting to note that the meaning of the word used by our Lord for "agree" literally means to "symphonize." It is the word from which we get our modern word "symphony."
A special speaker was the guest in a church where the pastor announced that their prison quartet would be singing. The speaker wasn’t aware of a prison hi the vicinity, so he was a bit confused. When four members of the church approached the stage, the pastor introduced them. "This is our prison quartet," he said, "they’re behind a few bars and always looking for the key."
Well, in this passage, Jesus tells us that the key to believers working together in harmony is agreeing prayer. 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 inverse 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 misunder¬standing 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 here 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.
"Jesus came and told his disciples, ’I have been given complete authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.’" - Matthew 28:18-20 (NLT)
We are to go about the work Christ has commissioned us to perform in His authority. 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 said we are to gather for prayer "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 do we do this? By praying in agreement with God. Exercising our delegated authority through prayer to enforce God’s heavenly decrees concerning what has been bound and loosed in the earth by virtue of the finished work of Christ!
"And I tell you, you are Peter [Petros—a large piece of rock], and on this rock [petra—a huge rock like Gibraltar] I will build My church, and the gates of Hades (the powers of the infernal region) shall not overpower it [or be strong to its detriment or hold out against it]. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind (declare to be improper and unlawful) on earth must be what is already bound in heaven; and whatever you loose (declare lawful) on earth must be what is already loosed in heaven." - Matthew 16:18-19 (Amplified)
What is Jesus emphasizing in His play on words in this verse? He is emphasizing the delegated authority by which His church (consisting of all, who like Peter, have confessed that He is their Savior) will over¬come the powers of darkness here on earth. Jesus portrays His church as being a mighty army, overcoming the strongholds of the evil one.