Prayer-Squared: The Power Of 2

Wonder how to increase the power of your prayers?  Jesus gave us a hint:  “… if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.”  Join me for some touching stories about prayer-squared:  the Power of 2. (Recorded December 20, 1998)

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Matthew 18:18-20

“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.

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work:   If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!

Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?  Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.

James 5:13-16

Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise.  Is any one of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.

And the prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven.  Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.

Outline

1) Praying with others brings the presence of Christ.

2) Praying with others brings the healing of Christ.

3) Praying with others brings the power of Christ.

Transcript

This is Eric Elder and my wife is here with me, we just want to wish you a Merry Christmas. Many of you may be watching this Christmas week and you may even watch it on Christmas day. We just want to wish you the happiest of holidays because this is time when Jesus came. I have written a song that says, “I am Alive Because Jesus Died.” Any of you who know Christ also know what a great thing it was that Christ came into the world because many of you also are alive because of His coming and His death and His resurrection to the right hand of God. So that is just why we take this time at Christmas time to celebrate God and enjoy Him. I just wish that you would have that peace in your heart as well.

Tonight I want to talk about the power of two. Also known as prayer squared. There is a passage in the Bible that says if two or three of you are gathered together in my name I will be there with you. God says He will answer those prayers when we pray together in agreement. So I want to encourage you tonight and just tell you a few stories of how God can take our prayers and when we get together with other believers He actually multiplies the impact of those prayers. I don’t understand exactly how it works, but the Bible says it and I believe that it is true. After eleven years or so of experiencing praying with others and watching God’s power come through I just know that it works.

I want to encourage you to find someone and to ask God to reveal someone with whom you can pray and just be able to share the things that God is doing in your life. Also, pray that God’s presence would be with you and He would answer the prayers that you pray.

I want you to read a few passages and they are on your screen, if you would take a look at your Message Notes from the screen that you just came from. On the Message Notes there are about three passages there, one from Ecclesiastes, one from Matthew, and one from James. Tonight I want to go through three of those things with you. We are going to talk about praying together with others. When you pray together with others that brings the presence of God, when you pray with others it brings the healing of God, and

it brings the power of God. We are going to see how Christ accomplishes all three of those things. So if you will read those with me and then I will play the piano a little bit so you can have time to read those. Just ask God to speak to you through this half-hour message tonight.

Prayer Brings the Presence of Christ

Several years ago I heard a man speak and he talked about his parents. He watched them, every night, they would kneel together at the end of their bed and they would pray for each other. He was so encouraged by that. When he grew up and got married he did the exact same thing with his wife. Every night they would pray together. I was so struck by that. It made me want to do the same thing when one day I would get married as well. I made a commitment that day that it was one thing I wanted to do, pray with my wife every night just before we went to bed.

I wasn’t even married at the time, but I was living with a roommate. I decided that I would try it out with him first. So we made that commitment to just pray with each other every day. So every day we would have someone praying for us. He would have someone praying for him. So everyday we were covered in prayer. We went for a year that way.

It was remarkable, even if one of us was asleep and the other one was out at some event, they would come back and since we had made that commitment we would wake each other up and say, “Ok, we’ve got to pray.” Whether it was for thirty seconds or thirty minutes – we would spend that time just praying to God and asking Him to have His blessing on each of our lives.

I wrote to that man this week and ask him anything that he remembered, particularly power from that. He said,

“One of the things he remembered was just the sheer accountability of it. He would pray one night that the next day he would have the words to speak at work. The next night he would know that he would be asked if he had spoken those words or not. And whether he was able to hear from Christ.”

So he was actually being able to be encouraged and have very specific prayers answered because he able to verbalize what prayer requests he had and what he needed.

Then when we got married, my wife and I started that. For almost ten years now we have been praying every night together. Like I said, sometimes it’s thirty seconds, sometimes it’s thirty minutes. It just depends on how God is leading us and how tired we are. But every night before we go to bed we each get pray from someone else.

I want to encourage you tonight just to find someone to pray with. It may not be every day; it may not be for a lifetime. I’m going to tell you a few stories of how God can honor those prayers. This first aspect of it is talking about the presence of Christ when we pray together. If you will look at that passage in Matthew 18:19, Jesus is saying these words

“Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in My name, there am I with them.”

Jesus promises that He will be with us when two or three us come together. Now Jesus is with you anytime and you can pray anytime. Throughout the Bible there are plenty of stories of people who prayed alone. You can certainly do that. God will certainly answer those prayers. But tonight I am really focusing on the praying with others and how Jesus actually comes in our midst when two of us are together or three of us are together. When we praise His name, it says, (the Bible) “The Father in heaven hears us and He does what we ask for.”

Those two stories of praying with my roommate, prior to marriage, and praying with my wife are just some of several prayer partners I have had over the years. I have been able to pray and watch specific prayers be answered. As I have had prayer partners for short term and long term and all different events and opportunities. It has always remarkable to me to see how that brings a unity. Praying with each other brings a presence of Christ into that relationship.

We have some friends back in Houston who when they prayed together before they were married the future husband said that was some of the most intimate times he ever had with his wife, before they married. After they were married and they were able to be fully intimate in a physical way some of their pray life actually slacked off because that up to that point was the most intimate they had ever been, when they were praying together.

When you compare those two levels of intimacy being able to be that close and intimate. I believe that its because the presence of Christ descends and comes down upon us when we are praying. When you have the presence of Christ in your relationship with another person that makes all the difference in the world.

It allows you to forgive each other. It allows you to talk to each other. It allows you to reconcile your differences so that when Christ is the center of it, Christ comes down when you pray together it brings such a unity and a common purpose. That presence cannot be ignored.

Prayer Brings the Healing of Christ

One of the second things that prayer does is when we pray together it actually brings healing. There is a way that we can pray together and be healed. If you will look with me at the passage in James 5:13 it starts with this:

“Is anyone of you in trouble? He should pray. Is anyone happy? Let him sing songs of praise. Is anyone of you sick? He should call the elders of the church to pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord.”

So here he is going to call some people to and have them come and anoint him and pray for him. So that pray will actually bring healing. It says, in verse 15:

“And the pray offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. If he has sinned, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective.”

He says it right there in James. He says, “Pray for each other, confess your sins to one another, pray for each other and you will be healed.” We have experienced this many times even on the Internet.

Just these past three months I have met a man who wrote to me and confessed some sins to me that he was struggling with in his life. He asked if I would pray with him and hold him accountable to some of these things. So I said, “Let’s do this for three months. Every week I will write you a note, an email, and ask you how you are doing. I will pray with you online.” He would write back and tell me how his week went.

As the weeks went by he continued to see more and more freedom. He continued to see what he was doing was a lie, he didn’t want to walk in that anymore. He continued to read his Bible and read some other Christian literature that encouraged him in his faith. By the end of the three months he made some comments about the process that he had come through. Here is one of the comments, he says,

“I am in some ways accommodating my sin and I realize I must totally divorce myself from it. I am no longer that way. I am a redeemed sinner with one awesome Savior.”

He commented later that with the technology, sin is so much more pervasive. It is so easy to get into trouble on the Internet and other places. When you can reach out and use the technology to help get out of that sin, it is a great tool. It can be a great benefit.

I want to encourage you too. If you need someone to pray with about a particular sin, you want to confess something that you have never confessed to anyone before – I encourage you to write me here at The Ranch. We are very confidential; the prayers don’t go any farther than this. We can really pray with you and somehow the anonymity of the Internet and somehow just the distance of I don’t know anything about you. I don’t know who you are.

I have had people from England write me who are leading Bible studies and yet struggling with a sin inwardly and they don’t know what to do about it. They write to me because they can’t share it with their Bible study group or they feel people will think badly of them. Pastors write me, I have had other people in ministry, some major ministry, write to me and say could you please pray for this. I am uncomfortable sharing this with other people, but I feel comfortable I can share this with you and you will keep it in confidence.

Many cases these people will write back later and tell me exactly what has happened and they see a sense of freedom that they have never known before. I believe it is simple coming together in agreement, confessing your sins to one another, so that you may be healed. If you are sick, the pray offered in faith will make a sick person well.

I am going to call on you to agree with me in pray. Last week I got a cold and I have been fighting it all week and I am still fighting it a bit in my voice. It is much better this week some people have been praying for me and I want to call on you to pray for me as well. That I would have the strength to continue on in what God has called me to do. It says here (in the Bible), “the pray offered in faith will make a sick person well.” the pray offered in faith will make a sick person well.” If you will agree with me, I would pray that our whole household would be completely well and healed. I believe God will answer it because He says in James, “the pray of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” the pray of a righteous man is powerful and effective.” None of us are righteous on our own but Christ when He died made each one of righteous. So we are all righteous people in the eyes of God. So our prayers really do make a difference.

Prayer Brings the Power of Christ

So we talked about the presence of Christ in a relationship when we pray. We talked about the healing of Christ. The third thing I want to mention is the power of Christ when we pray.

Look back with me at Ecclesiastes. This is one of those side benefits of coming together. Ecclesiastes 4:9 says,

“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work. If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up! Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm together? Though one may be overpowered two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”

When we come together in agreement we can see a power there just in helping each other out and building each other up. Also, God says He will answer those prayers. This story I hope will encourage you.

Even speaking now I can tell that some of you may be discouraged if you are not married, you don’t have someone that close to pray with. I am going to pray that God will reveal someone with whom you can pray. Maybe on a weekly basis or on a monthly basis even. Or if you want to write to me here or write to my wife here if you are comfortable writing to her and asking her to pray. I am going to ask God to reveal someone that you could pray with and see this kind of power in your life as well. It should be available to all of us as believers. We are here to help encourage believers in their faith.

Several years ago I was praying for a friend of mine. Neither of us was married at the time. We were praying for spouses for each other. I would pray for him and he would pray for me. Then I got married and that was great, but it was several more years before he got married. We would pray and would continue in prayer.

Sometimes he would falter in his faith and just feel like he was never going to get married, that it was never going to happen for him. It was a real struggle. But because the two of us were there we were able to encourage each other and build each other back up. We would say, “God has a purpose for me, God has a plan for me. I believe God has a mate and He’s going to reveal it. If He doesn’t He has something in mind for me and my life.” It was very encouraging just to be together and to pray like that.

Anyway, when he got married a couple of years ago I gave the toast at his wedding. I had not met his wife before that weekend and we were at the reception. It was in a huge ballroom and many of her friends were there as well and I didn’t know who they were. I gave this toast and a glowing review of my friend and what I thought of him. Then I held my glass up and I said,

“To you, (and I spoke the woman’s name), I just met you this weekend (everyone burst out laughing because I had nothing to say about her, but they didn’t realize that I had a lot to say about her.)” I said, “As for you, even though I just met you, I have prayed for you for years. I have prayed that God would make you the woman that you need to be and be the perfect wife for my friend. I have prayed that you would be going through the things that you need to go through to build you up in the character of Christ. I have prayed that you would be a Godly woman and that you would have the strength, determination and the love for my friend that he deserves and that I want him to have. The kind of love that God wants him to have. I have prayed for you and the things that you have gone through over the last several years I believe are a result of my friend and I getting down on our knees and praying for you specifically. So even though I had just met you tonight you are an answer to all of our prayers. I just want to toast them.”

I toasted to them and I had tears in my eyes and other people did too. Just as we realized the power of God had brought a miracle forth. I just raised up my hand and said,

“Today is pay day. This is pay day when all the prayers pay off.”

The power of Christ answered the prayers and brought them together. That was over years and years of praying in faith that God would do it. Now when I talk to my friend he can’t remember when he was single. He says that it has been just so incredible and he’s been just so in love. It has been just the perfect situation and a perfect wife for him.

I want to pray that for people as well tonight. That they would see the power of Christ demonstrated as they pray. Sometimes it can get really discouraging. Lana and I know. We have had several things that we have been praying for, for years. Other friends that we have been praying for breakthroughs and they haven’t come yet. But in faith and by Christ we believe that they will be answered. These prayers will not go unanswered. Our God has promised, look back in Matthew again,

“Again I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for it will be done for you by My Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in My name there I am with them.”

Stick with me for just a couple of more minutes. I am going to play a song and would you just ask God to reveal to you if there is anyone He wants you to pray with. If this has struck a chord in your heart and you are saying, “Yes, I do want someone to pray with.” I just pray that God would show you who that might be.

It might be your spouse already and maybe you would just like to start praying with her. Maybe just for tonight. Just say, “Let’s just pray together tonight. Just try it tonight. Or just let’s do it for a week. Let’s just pray together for a week. Or a month.” Soon that will turn into months and months and years and years. All of those prayers will add up.

Or maybe you can think of a friend that you would like to call and pray with. Just say, “Could we just pray, just once. I would like to pray with someone over the phone. I have never done this before but I just really need someone to pray for me right now. I am going through a hard time. Could you just pray for me and I will pray for you.”

Or maybe you just want to write to us here at The Ranch. Or you can chat with us after this live broadcast. We will be in the Chat Room and you can chat with us as a group or we can go in a private Chat Room and chat one on one. Pray one on one about what is going on. I just love to do that.

As I play this song would you just let God speak to you? Just encourage God and say, “God, speak to me. Tell me is there anyone that I need to be praying with for my sake or for theirs?”

Joseph Garlington makes a comment, this is his interpretation of that verse in Matthew, he thinks Jesus is saying, “If two of you on earth agree about anything I will come down to earth and see that for myself!” Sometimes it is so hard for us to agree. Sometimes it is so hard for us to agree in prayer that Joseph thought maybe God just wants to come and show up so that He can see it. It would be such a feat!

I don’t believe that is what He meant at all. That is not what Joseph believes as well. He knows that there is power in praying together. I want to pray with you but before I do – this is Christmas time. You may not realize the importance of Christmas. The importance of what happened on Christmas day. When Jesus was born and came into the world.

You Can Experience Jesus’ Power

As I said earlier I am alive because Jesus died. I found myself in a sin that I didn’t want to be in. I wanted a way out. God showed me a way out. He said, “Believe on My Son Jesus and you will be saved.” I put my hand up in the air that day, not literally but just in my mind, and I said, “Lord, I believe in you. I believe you can take this sin away. That you died for this sin so that I could come to heaven and be cleaned and healed.” God healed me that day, that instant, of that sin. He took it away from me and it has been gone ever since, for eleven years since I gave my life to Christ.

THAT IS THE POWER OF THE CROSS – that is the power of Christ when He came to the earth. That is the good news. Here is says in Matthew, when Jesus was born. That whole story talking about His birth and how it came to happen. Before He was born, God spoke to Joseph in a dream. God told him what the name of Jesus was going to be. He said,

“Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give Him the name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.”

God gave that little baby the name Jesus. Why? The Bible says, so that He could save His people from their sins. That is what He can do for you. All you have to do is say, “Lord, I admit that I am a sinner. I confess that and I am sorry. It is wrong. I have realized that Your penalty for sin is much harsher than any of the laws in America, much harsher than some of the laws in other countries.” When we sin the penalty is death. That is what the Bible says. Yet, Jesus says, “I came to give life and give it to the full. Anyone that believes in me will be able to be free from death.” Not only here on this earth but once you die that death there is a second death to come. You will be freed from that death and you won’t have to die that death. You will get to go to heaven and be with Jesus forever.

I tell you what there is no crying in heaven like you might have had here on earth. There are no tears in heaven. There is no sadness, no weeping, there is no pain, there is no hurt, there is no darkness, no trouble, no anxiety – only TOTAL PEACE, TOTAL JOY. Some people think that sounds so boring. I tell you what that sounds pretty good to me right now. That sounds pretty good, that kind of peace, that kind of joy, that kind of love. Being with the Father every day.

You can have that just by saying, “Lord, I just confess my sins. I believe that Your Son Jesus died in my place so that I don’t have to. I invite Him into my heart so that I can live a full life. Life abundant here on earth and in heaven.” It is that easy. If you are watching us this Christmas week I pray that you would do it. Now is a better time than any other. I just encourage you to do that.

Prayer

I want to take a minute to pray with all of you watching. Whether you are a believer or not.

Lord, I just pray that You would encourage us in our prayer life. Lord, whether it is our devotional life, our life just reading the Bible, just seeking your will on our own or whether it is praying with others. I just want to encourage these believers to as well as these people questioning whether they even should believe. I pray that You would reveal Yourself to them. You would reveal the power of coming together in prayer. You would reveal the healing that is available when we come together in prayer. You would reveal Your presence to us when we come together in prayer.

I pray that You would do this. I pray that You would reveal prayer partners. I pray that You would reveal if there is someone new that ought to be added to our prayer list. Lord, you would build deep and close relationships from these prayer partners that develop after this. I pray that they would be deep and abiding for life. I know that you have the power to reveal these people and I pray that you would do it – even right now all over the world. I pray that you would be joining hearts together so that people would be able to walk forward arm in arm that when one falls there is someone there to pick them up. That they would be able to experience the power of Christ, the presence of Christ and the healing of Christ.

I pray for anyone that doesn’t yet know Christ that they would commit their life to the Lord right now. That they would repent and say, “God, I am sorry for my sins.”

If you don’t believe you have sinned ask God. Just say, “God, have I really sinned worthy of death?” That is what I did. I didn’t believe that I had sinned worthy of death. I asked God and within two weeks He answered me. God will answer that prayer pretty quickly. If you are open to it and you receive it from God. But there is a solution on the other side and you just say, “God, thank you. You are right, I agree I confess it. I believe in Your Son Jesus that He died for me. So that I could have a life abundant here and in heaven.”

That is the Christmas message. That is the message of Christ. I just pray that God will bring you a prayer partner.

Goodnight

Have a great week and I pray that the end of your year will be terrific as well. Join us again next week as we get ready for the New Year and we have some more encouraging words here – live from The Ranch.

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