Two or More, Plus One

My niece Meghan and her beau Kyle married a couple of weeks ago. They had asked my brother—her step-father— to officiate, but when Eric tested positive for COVID, they asked me to pinch-hit. I had officiated a marriage ceremony once before, so after several practice-runs alone at home, I thought I was ready. Yet as I sat quietly by myself during the final moments before the wedding, a young woman from the bridal party approached me and asked, “Has anyone prayed with you yet?” “No,” I responded, “I’ve been praying by myself.” “Would you like me to pray with you?” she asked in reply. “Yes, that would be great.” As we prayed, I received a peace and confidence higher than my own. “God’s Spirit is here,” I thought, “All will be well; enjoy this time.” I was ready. And the wedding was beautiful.

In his historical account, Luke noted that “Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.”1 One-on-one conversations with God—such as these between Jesus and His heavenly Father—deepen our relationship with Him who pursues relationship with us. Yet even Jesus solicited the prayer support of others on occasion, such as the time He “took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray.”2 In fact, He taught all of His disciples, “Truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.”3

Have you ever noticed that agreeing in earnest prayer with others strengthens both our hope and the faith to go forward in it? It is evidence of our oneness in Christ—the unity that happens as the same Holy Spirit of God indwells each one of us and collectively all of us. When we pray together, we pray as one. Then instead of saying to people, “I will pray for you,” might we do better to stop and actually do it, even if to utter just one sentence of Spirit-led petition and thanksgiving? Jesus will join us there, and He will act. He promises.

“Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” —Ephesians 6:18

Father, thank You for uniting us in Christ, for putting Your one Holy Spirit in all who believe in Him. Lead us together in love and humility, that we would faithfully pray together as one, each of us supporting all of us. In Christ we pray. Amen.

1 Luke 5:16
2 Luke 9:28
3 Matthew 18:19-20

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