Matthew 18:20 “Where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among them.”
Christians regularly appeal to this saying in order to reassure themselves that, no matter how few their numbers when they gather for public worship or for prayer, Jesus himself will be present.
Matthew Henry: ‘Every believer has the presence of Christ with him; but the promise here refers to the meetings where two or three are gathered in his name, not only for discipline, but for religious worship, or any act of Christian communion.’
Ryle: ‘There is comfort in these words for all who love to meet together for religious purposes.…
Tim Challies has helpfully drawn together some ways in which the Bible can guide our prayers for unbelievers.
Here’s a summary:-
1. Praying for them
We begin with prayers for salvation. Each of these prayers seeks the same thing, but in a different way or from a different angle or using different language. Each of them is grounded in a specific text of Scripture.
‘Pray that God would circumcise their hearts,‘ Deut 30:6.
‘Pray that God would give them a heart of flesh,‘ Ezekiel 11:19.…
In his book Where Your Treasure Is: Psalms that Summon You from Self to Community, Eugene Peterson studies “psalms that shaped the politics of Israel and can shape the politics of America” [or Great Britain]:
2 the unselfing of America
He comments, “writing about prayer is not prayer; neither is reading about it.…
Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible (Augsburg Fortress, 1970, Kindle Edition).
by Dietrich Bonhoeffer
Do the Psalms, as Holy Scripture, primarily represent the thoughts, feelings, experiences and longings of those by whom, and for whom, they were originally composed? Or do we draw a straight line from each psalm to our own experience, and appropriate each prayer as if ti were our own?
Neither, says Bonhoeffer.
In this short book, Bonhoeffer argues that the Psalms should be understood, first and foremost, as the Prayer Book of Jesus Christ. …
In his recent (2017) book Teaching Psalms – Volume One – from text to message – Christopher Ash develops a forthrightly Christocentric approach to reading, praying, and preaching from this part of Holy Scripture.
What follows is a summary, mainly in my own words. I have made no attempt to offer any critical comment.
Why we must pray the Psalms
because we need to be taught to pray. Prayer does not come naturally or easily, even to the believer.
The healing of the crippled beggar, 3:1-10 – Peter’s speech to the people, 11-26 – Peter & John brought before the Sanhedrin, 4:1-7 – Peter’s reply, 8-12 – They are warned to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, 13-17 – Peter refuses, 18-22 – They return to their fellow-believers, who offer a remarkable prayer. So:-
‘Silence is golden’, we say. And we can agree that silence can have more eloquence than any words, serving (as Francois De La Rochefoucauld said) ‘sometimes to approve, sometimes to condemn; there is a mocking silence; there is a respectful silence.’
But what is the role and value of silence in Christian prayer and worship?
In the Middle Ages, silent prayers were added to the liturgy, and these were taken up by the Tractarians, and in the Roman Ordo. …
Or, as the New Living Translation puts it: ‘May your name be honoured.’
This, the first petition of the Lord’s Prayer, established the Number One priority for prayer. Not me, and my shopping lists of aches and pains, interests and concerns. But God, and his honour. We have not even begun to understand who God is, if we have no interest in putting him first. In reality, God is first: as Creator, Sustainer, and Ruler of the cosmos. …