Believers have a wonderful promise from Christ in Matthew 18:19–20.
“When we pray alone, the Lord is with us … but there’s an additional encouragement when we pray with others. As Paul said in Ephesians 3, we have ‘power with all the saints,’ ” said Claude King, former discipleship and church specialist at Lifeway, who has been helping people and churches make disciples for more than 30 years. King, from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was a featured speaker at Pinnacle Alabama, an annual conference for Sunday School and small group leaders hosted by the Alabama Baptist State Board of Missions. Pinnacle was held at Shocco Springs Baptist Conference Center in August.
King spoke on “Praying in Agreement — Praying Together and for One Another.”
Agreeing with God
Noting “praying in agreement” has two components, King said the first step is being in harmony with God.
“Sin can disrupt our agreement with Him,” he said.
Referring to Psalm 66:18, King said Scripture teaches that “if we regard iniquity in our hearts” the Lord will not hear us.
“We cannot be in agreement with God if we harbor rebellion in our lives,” King declared.
Along with sin, unbelief can hinder effective prayer, King noted.
“James chided his readers about unbelief and said it hindered their prayer. How often did Jesus likewise chide His disciples about their unbelief?
“Furthermore, James said we can be guilty of wrong motives in prayer, so agreeing with God begins with our abandoning sin in confession to Him and seeking His will.”
Agreeing with others
A second component of agreeing with God focuses on agreeing with one another, King continued.
“I remember the story of Achan in the book of Joshua. Joshua was distraught that after the rout of Jericho his army was defeated by the smaller and unwalled city of Ai. Then it was discovered that Achan had disobeyed the Lord, and it affected the whole tribe.
“[King] Solomon said, ‘Remove the dross from the silver, and a silversmith can produce a vessel.’ The ‘dross’ can be sin in the camp,” King asserted.
King recalled a time a group asked him to write study materials to help them slay the giants of racial and denominational division. He struggled two months and wrote very little, later learning the group’s leadership realized a problem and called for a gathering of confession and repentance.
“After this solemn assembly, when the group humbled themselves before God, the Lord inspired me to complete the book they requested,” King recounted. “When we gather, we need to care that others are walking with God.”
Value of fellowship
Jesus stated the importance of fellowship among believers in two passages, King noted.
“In the Sermon on the Mount, He counseled us about bringing our gifts to the altar and remembering brokenness with a brother. He said we should leave the gift and seek reconciliation,” King explained. “And in Mark’s Gospel, He said, ‘And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing.’
“In the first instance Jesus spoke about our brother having a grievance with us, and in the second instance, He spoke of our having grievance with our brother. In effect, He said there’s no use praying in either case until we find reconciliation,” King said.
King noted the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah had strong words for fellow Jews in his temple sermon.
A plan for His people
“He contrasted God’s wish for His temple to be a house of prayer for all nations and the [reality of the] temple being a den of robbers,” King said. “Since God wants His church to be a house of prayer for all the nations, we must be serious about confessing and abandoning our sin.”
God has a plan for His people and all the resources they need to accomplish it, King asserted.
“I think sometimes it’s like a jigsaw puzzle and the pieces, or the vision, is shared by many,” he noted. “We pray together, we seek the Lord and He reveals to us the big picture.”
King said a praying church needs constant attention since it can easily to fall into prayerlessness.
“Is prayerlessness a sin?” he asked. “Yes, it is. And what is the fruit of repentance for this sin? Of course, it’s prayer.”
King offers downloadable study guides and videos without charge at his website, growingdisciples.net. He may be contacted at email@example.com.