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Prayer, Plain and Simple

Prayer, Plain and Simple

If and only if… part 3

There’s a third Biblical condition to answered prayer. Jesus lays down amazing promises about the power of asking things from God. He promises to answer. You can check out Thursday’s post if you’d like to see a few of those commitments. Bottom line: God puts himself on the line to deliver what we pray for!

 

Yet as bold as these promises are, they come with specific conditions: “If and only if…” God honor his promises to answer prayer when conditions he’s set are met. Here’s another one of those conditions:

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Agreement: “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (Matthew 18:19).  While prayer is a gift that God gives to every individual, Jesus adds a kind of check and balance to what can easily become a very subjective process.  In this conditional promise Jesus makes prayer a corporate matter.  Effective requests come to God as petitions with more than one signature attached.  Why? Perhaps God is as concerned with our human-to-human relationships as he is with our God-to-human relationship.  Six of the ten commands in Exodus 20 direct us how to relate with other people. Human beings are not made for isolation.  In fact Paul suggests at several points in his letters to early Christians that individual people cannot find their true identity outside of healthy relationships with other people who have connected their own lives to Jesus.

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According to Jesus, God has built into the prayer-response process a requirement of human cooperation. Prayer like everything else in human experience must be a social experience.  Beyond this there is a simple practical concern answered by this stipulation: when two or more people jointly submit a request there is at least some protection against unchecked self-interest. The requirement of agreement is a simple accountability tool. 

 

Do you have anyone to pray with, to agree with on the things you are bringing to God. A prayer partner is one of the most powerful relationships you can cultivate. People in this prayer blog community can become a kind of agreement team. And if you can find someone face to face, that’s great too. Either way, get someone to agree with you, and ask, together.

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