Date: Sunday, 28 March 2021
Text : Matthew 18 : 19 , 20 Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.
Matthew 7 : 7 Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
The apostles learned their leadership patterns from our Lord Jesus . Go through the Gospels for Jesus’ teaching and practice of prayer, and you will identify many ( some scholars say 37 verses – I have not counted ! ) . Of those many instances in which Jesus refers to prayer, most ( some scholars say 33 – again I have not counted ) of them are in the plural rather than singular . These verses show that Jesus’ instruction decisively leaned toward praying with others, not just praying in private.
Take, for example, Matt. 7:7 We read “you” in that verse and immediately think it’s singular, referring to an individual. In fact, it is a plural “you,” meaning Jesus is urging a gathering of believers to ask, seek, and knock.
Jesus seems to deliberately emphasise the importance of praying together. In Matt. 18:19 Jesus said “If two of you on earth agree…” instead of “If anyone asks…;” He chose to emphasise a group gathered for prayer. This focus of Jesus’ on more than one praying indicates that there is a design of God’s in such gatherings..
Praying together was a priority for the apostles
The example of the apostles in Acts points to the priority praying together held for them. Every occurrence of prayer in Acts preceding Chapter 6 (1:14, 24; 2:42; 3:1; 4:23-31) pictures the apostles leading others in prayer. Not one reference points to their private prayer time; the focus is on God’s people praying together. So by testimony and by example, it is clear that the apostles placed a high premium on the people of God praying together. They considered guiding the corporate prayer life of the church just as critical a priority as the preaching/teaching of God’s Word. God has sovereignly ordained the corporate praying of a church, such that His mighty workings increase exponentially and His purposes are accelerated when we pray together.
The Book of Acts records the mighty works of God for and through His church in its early years, and clearly connects them to unified, corporate prayer.
The 120 were gathered in an upper room praying in one accord when Pentecost comes (Acts 1:13; 2:1). The disciples prayed for wisdom in knowing who Judas’ replacement should be (Acts 1:24). When Peter and John reported the Sanhedrin’s threats, those gathered cried out to God in one accord for boldness, and the place was shaken where they prayed (Acts 4:24, 31). The church prayed over the seven men appointed to serve the widows (Acts 6:6). After James was martyred and Peter imprisoned by Herod, the church was fervently praying, and God miraculously delivered Peter from his cell (Acts 12:1-11). While the prophets and teachers were praying and fasting, the Holy Spirit called Paul and Barnabas to go on their first missionary journey (Acts 13:1-2). Paul and Silas were praying when God sent an earthquake that resulted in the conversion of the jailer and their release (Acts 16:25).
What is our attitude towards corporate prayer – which is now online on Saturday mornings or on third Sundays like we used to have when we had physical services? Do we view prayer meetings as optional – something to drop by or log on to view once in a while ? Can we not consider changing the the timing of some of our worldly activities to enable us to attend our corporate prayer sessions ? If we have not managed to attend any corporate prayer , can we take steps forward in our participation and confidence in prayer, not just as individuals, but with other believers, gathered together with the purpose of seeing God’s glory manifested. After we start , we pray that the Spirit will move us to make it regular in our calendar.
As a church , PBC has been blessed in many ways . Can we become a praying church , praying together and letting God set the direction as to how we should serve Him? May we move as the Spirit moves us so more than ever .
Prayer : Heavenly Father , we pray that more of Your people in PBC will be moved to gather together to pray corporately . May You move us to know how we can serve You more and more each day to the glory and honour of Your Name. In Jesus’ name . Amen!
20 因為無論在那裡,有兩三個人奉我的名聚會,那裡就有我在他們中間 。
以馬太福音 7：7為例，耶穌正敦促一群信徒祈求，尋找和叩門。耶穌似乎特意強調了一起禱告的重要性。在馬太福音 18:19中，耶穌說：“ 若是你們中間兩個人在地上,同心合意……”，而不是“如果有人祈求……”。他重視群体在一起祈禱。耶穌對群体祈禱的關注，表明這樣的聚會合乎上帝的旨意。
使徒們在使徒行傳所立下的榜樣說明了他們以共同祈禱為重心。在第6章（徒1:14，24; 2:42; 3：1; 4：23-31）之前的使徒行傳中，每次禱告都描繪了使徒帶領眾人一同禱告。沒有提到他們的私人祈禱時間，重點是上帝的子民一起禱告。因此，通過見證和榜樣，使徒們很明顯的十分重視上帝的子民在一起禱告。他們認為教導教會的集體祈禱生活，與宣講或教導上帝的話一樣重要。上帝以他的主權確認了教會的集體祈禱，以致當我們一起祈禱時，祂的大能工作翻倍增長， 也加速達到祂設定的目標。