This entry is part 17 of 28 in the series Devotionals

How many times have you heard someone say, “Let’s touch and agree and pray for God to answer your prayers”? Matthew 18:19 says, “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.” This scripture is often misinterpreted, in order to get prayers answered, because we quote it out of context. Let’s consider the “subject” of Matthew 18:19, however. 

Matthew 18:15-21 says: “If your brother sins against you, go and confront him privately. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over. But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, regard him as you would a pagan or a tax collector. Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on the earth will be loosed in heaven. AGAIN, I TELL YOU TRULY THAT IF TWO OF YOU ON THE EARTH AGREE ABOUT ANYTHING YOU ASK FOR, IT WILL BE DONE FOR YOU BY MY FATHER IN HEAVEN. For where two or three are gathered together unto My name, there am I in their midst. Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

The “subject” of this passage of Scriptures is “the judgment of the offenders of those who have this childlike faith.” Jesus said that if you have a brother who sins against you, then you need to go to him and try to work it out. If he refuses to acknowledge his fault, then you bring one or two more witnesses to help work things out. When you count yourself, there are two or three witnesses. Matthew 18:19 pertains to church discipline – not God granting the prayer request of those coming together and agreeing in prayer. 

In the Old Testament, legal cases needed two or three witnesses to establish a matter (Deuteronomy 19:15). Jesus Christ said that the Father would grant the request of two or more who gather together in Christ’s Name and are “in agreement” on disciplining a brother in error. 

We all want to get our prayers answered. God doesn’t answer our prayers, however, by us “touching and agreeing” with one another. 2 Timothy 2:15ESV says, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” We can be confident that God will answer our prayers when we are obediently following Him and praying according to His will. Let’s not do things the way we’ve always done them, and not knowing why we do it.

Father, may we seek more for Your renewing grace in our life, to teach us to forgive others as we hope for forgiveness from You.

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