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Devotional by Ray Stedman for June 11- Praying Together

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Topic:Praying Together

For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
Matthew 18:20

Ray Stedman devotion
Ray Stedman

The expression of the power of Jesus Christ is never fully seen in an individual Christian, but only in the church as a whole. The simplest form of the church is here described, Where two or three gather in my name. You and I, as individual Christians, cannot fully reflect Jesus Christ. It is only when two or three, or two or three hundred, or two or three thousand are gathered in his name that in a full and complete sense the power which is committed to Jesus Christ, who is above every name which is named, both in this age and in the age to come, is fully manifested in this life. This means we can never fully know Jesus Christ unless we know him in relation to someone else.

In Paul’s great prayer in Ephesians 3, he prays that we may know what is the breadth and length and depth and height, and come to know with all saints the love which is in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 3:17-19). With all saints. We will never know it by ourselves. We can take our Bible and study it by ourselves, we can analyze it and saturate our minds with it and memorize it, but till we begin to share it with other Christians we never grasp what Jesus Christ fully is.

Furthermore, we can never learn how mighty and glorious he is unless we begin to make demands upon his power and his glory, and thus learn that we can never touch bottom. That is the thing that gives meaning to the gatherings of believers today. Where two or three gather in my name, Jesus says, there I am with them. The power of the church does not lie in the numbers that it can gather together. What a mistaken idea it is, that if we can get enough people together to pray, we shall have enough power to correct the things that are wrong in the world and set them right again. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Nor is the power of the church the status which it occupies in a community. We think if we can get so many people who are in positions of authority or leadership or stature in a community, the leaders of civic life, the Mayor, the bankers and those in business, the titans, the tycoons, into our church then we will have enough status that we can wield great power in the minds and hearts of people. How foolish we are. The power of the church does not rest in its numbers, its status, its wealth, its money, its position. The power of the Church of Jesus Christ is stated here. Where two or three gather in my name, there I am with them.

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Out of him alone flows this marvelous power to bind and to loose, and this tremendous unity by which the mind of the Spirit becomes known and God moves through Christian lives to alter the course and destiny of the world around us. Let us glory in that! If we wish to glory in anything, let us glory in the fact that the indwelling Jesus Christ lives and moves in our midst, that we belong to him, that his life is expressed through us. It is through him that prayer has meaning and value.

Father, How wonderful it is to come back to the simplicity of that relationship of a mighty, overpowering, victorious Lord in the midst of his Church. Lord, teach me to glory in this and to pray on this basis alone.

Life Application
Have we falsely assumed the power of God’s response to our prayers will be measured by the numbers or the status of people praying? Or do we take the lone ranger route, ignoring both our need and the effectiveness of prayer with fellow believers?

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