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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

The "One More" Principle of Prayer

By T. Ray Rachels
May 19, 2013

For most people, the word “alone” evokes strong feelings.

A prison warden takes the toughest prisoner and puts him into solitary confinement to break his will.

A parent, whose patience is gone, says to the child, “Enough. Go to your room!”

A man, lost for days in the wilderness, finally is found and asked how he survived. “I don’t know. I was all by myself. I had given up hope.”

There is something penetratingly real about the mere presence of at least one other person that gives comfort and a sense of hope and? possibility. I know it’s true in the life of the church. I’ve seen it at work.

Recently, I watched as a Southern California pastor received 22 people into church membership. As he called each name, he took a small building block from a stack of 22 on a table. Every block had a member’s name inscribed, along with the words “I belong” and an inscription from 1 Peter 2:5 (NIV): “You also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”

You could feel the spiritual cement of that church as the members offered up themselves as “living stones.”

Any person who makes a prayer connection with at least one other person takes on strength far greater than his own. One plus one does not always equal two. For instance, when certain chemicals are combined, the effect is often a synergistic reaction far greater than what came from the simple mixture of just the two elements.

Prayer partnership also releases a synergistic reaction that is almost impossible to measure.

Jesus told His disciples in Matthew 18:19,20 (The Message):

“When two of you get together on anything at all on earth and make a prayer of it, my Father in heaven goes into action. And when two or three of you are together because of me, you can be sure that I’ll be there.”

The words “two or three” are not language that necessarily means just a handful of disciples, but rather, simply, “more than one!” Tiny congregations in the midst of a pagan world in the first century must have found great inspiration and hope in that phrase.

The church does not depend on numbers. “Two or three” are not merely added; rather, they multiply each other’s faith and are multiplied in reaction by the Lord of the church!

There is tremendous potential inherent in believers who are united in prayer. Christ is always there in the middle of life’s issues!

Some may get discouraged with prayer and question, “Why should I pray? Does God hear me? Does He care?” That is often the case when prayers are offered up with a “This is what I want from You” attitude. The truth is, God has the answer to your prayers; but they are always His answers, not yours. His provisions, not yours. The center of prayer is God alone, not me alone.

God answers prayer in many ways. Sometimes, it’s “yes.” Sometimes, “no.” At other times, “not now.” But He never ignores your prayer.

“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land” (2 Chronicles 7:14, NIV).

Think what might happen if we took seriously the simple promise of Jesus: “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them” (Matthew 18:20, NIV).

The Bible’s promise is this: Christ is truly present in your prayers! Yet, there is also an added dimension when a group of believers come together to pray.

Jesus said in Matthew 18:19, “If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven” (NIV).

S.D. Gordon, in his book Prayer Changes Things, urged that we underscore the word “will” until our sense of doubt is gone.

Why “will it be done for you?” Because you pray earnestly? Because you believe? Because you have faith?

These things count, but they are not the thing. “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.”

That is to say, if there are two, then there are three. If three people meet to pray, then there are four. There is always One more than you and I can see.

And He makes all the difference.

T. RAY RACHELS served as superintendent of the Southern California District of the Assemblies of God for 22 years and is an AG executive presbyter.

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