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Peter | Lesson 8, Part 2

Greetings MOL Family!

A burden for souls will lead us not only to pray for individuals when we’re alone with God, it will lead us to unite in little prayer bands with others, who like us, have a burden for souls.


Unity, In Prayer

 

Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. – Matthew 18:19-20

Here we have a promise especially for two people who agree, and the next verse widens it to two or three. Now, this verse is sometimes quoted with a word in it that isn’t in it at all. And that’s “even.” Where even “two or three are gathered together.” Sometimes in a prayer meeting where only a few people come, somebody will say, “Well, there’s a promise where even two or three are gathered together.” And I’ll not argue with that.

I’ll simply point out that that isn’t what this says. This isn’t a promise for a whole group of people that finally dwindle to the place where there’re only two or three. It’s a promise specifically directed to two or three getting together and agreeing about a special object. And to show you that this is what it’s talking about, notice Volume 7:

Why do not believers feel a deeper, more earnest concern for those who are out of Christ? Why do not two or three meet together and plead with God for the salvation of some special one, and then for still another? – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 7, pg. 21

See? Now, there’s an experience we can have alone with God. There’s an experience we can have in prayer at the family altar, or in a prayer meeting, or in the public worship of God on the Sabbath. But here is something different from all of those: two people, or three, getting together to claim this particular promise in Matthew 18:19-20.

They’re agreeing about something. What are they agreeing about? Well, there might be a number of things, but the specific point mentioned here in Volume 7 is agreeing to pray for a particular soul:

Plead with God for the salvation of some special one, and then for still another. – Ibid

I have heard of, and seen, a good many prayer bands in the last several years, and I’ll tell you, friends, what I think kills most of them. One is, they’re too big. Another thing is, they have too many names on a list.

How many of you ever used a burning glass when you were boys or girls to burn a hole in a piece of paper? Ever do that? What does that magnifying glass do with the rays of the sun? It focuses those rays on a given point. And the very rays, which –scattered, produce no effect; if focused, burn a hole in the paper.

This is the power of a prayer band, my friends, when two or three souls get together and unite to pray for a special soul. Notice as we read it again:

Why do not believers feel a deeper, more earnest concern for those who are out of Christ? Why do not two or three meet together and plead with God for the salvation of some special one, and then for still another? – Ibid

So, I make an appointment with my brother. I say, “Brother G., let’s you and I meet together and claim this promise.” May I just tell you incidentally – not so incidentally, this is important. Do you know that’s one of the hardest appointments to make and keep? It’s a lot easier to get to a meeting than it is to have a prayer band with one soul. That may seem a strange thing mathematically, but it’s easier to meet with 50 people than it is one person. If you’ve never tried it, you’ll doubt it. Try it, and you’ll understand what I mean. There’ll be all sorts of things come up to interfere with it. But never mind. Press through.

So, the servant of God says, “Why not do it?

Why do not two or three meet together and plead with God for the salvation of some special one, and then for still another? – Ibid

So, Brother G. and I meet together. We come to our appointed time. And friends, this little prayer band is not to have a sermon. It’s not to have a long reading. It’s not for a meeting. It’s to do this particular thing: to plead with God for the salvation of some special one, and then for still another.

And so Brother G. and I read this promise, and I say, “Now, Brother, who’s your special soul. Who’s this special one that you’re burdened for today?” He says, “I’m burdened for Brother H.” I say, “All right, I’m burdened for Brother J.” So we get down and Brother G. pours out his heart to God in behalf of Brother H, and I unite with him. I say, “Amen.” I join in that earnest intercession. We’re not praying for everything all over the world. We’re not praying, “Lord, bless the missionaries in the foreign fields, and the colporteurs,” and all those trite quotations we’ve heard for years. No. It’s all right to remember people, and there’re times to do it. I’m talking about claiming this particular promise for a specific soul.

The thing that helped Peter was when Jesus said, “Peter, I have prayed for you,” It wasn’t just that Jesus had prayed, “Lord, bless all the missionaries and all the colporteurs, and all the church school teachers, and all the preachers,” and Peter had said, “Well, somewhere in there I fit in.” Oh, no. Jesus said, “Peter, I have prayed for you.” There was something specific about that, that got hold of Peter’s heart.

So, thank God, as Brother G. and I kneel down there and he prays for Brother H, I unite with him. And then I pour out my heart in behalf of Brother J, this man that I am burdened for. And he unites with me in that. You see, we’re sharing each other’s burden for a special soul, a specific soul?

“Ah,” but somebody says, “I am burdened about so many. I don’t know which one to pick out.” Well, I want to tell you something, friends. If you’re really burdened about many, you’re burdened about one. And if you’re not burdened about one, you’re not really burdened about many. This is true. And you can pray when you’re alone with God for just as many as your time and your heart will allow.

But when you come together in a prayer band to claim this promise that we are reading here, in today’s study, don’t try to go over a long list of names. It’ll kill your interest. Start with one. If later your heart enlarges, you and your prayer partner can pray for more, and still keep that focus, that burning focus. All right.

But remember, friends, you can’t compass the world. Jesus is the only One Who can do that. He has an infinite heart. His eyes scanned the future and took in the life history of every son and daughter of Adam, and He prayed for everyone personally. You and I can’t do that. We’re finite. We’re limited.

So with our limited capacity, let’s focus upon a few. What do you say? Isn’t it better, friends, to focus on a few and get somebody, than just to pray for anything and everybody all over the world, and really not know whether we get any answers to our prayers or not? Prayer is to be a very specific thing, a focused thing. We are to pray for souls, and believe. Well, study that Volume 7, pages 21 and 22.

Now back again to our thought. Jesus said to Peter, “Peter, satan’s after you, and I know it. I am praying for you. When you are converted, strengthen your brethren.” Did Peter get converted? Did he strengthen his brethren? Were the prayers of Jesus answered?

So today, we gather two precious thoughts: First, Jesus is praying for us individually. He prayed for us personally when He was here on earth. He saw us looking down the stream of time. He prayed for us on the mountainside and under the olive trees. That same Saviour is praying for us at the mercy seat, today.

His uplifted hands have our names written on them, written with the marks of Calvary. Oh, friends, let’s come and pray for ourselves, joining our prayers with the One who is praying for us. What do you say?

Then the other precious thought: As Christ prayed for me, I can pray for others. Alone and in little prayer bands, I can join in praying for special souls. Pour out your heart to God; let us seek God.

 


Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…

-Continue on to the next study-

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Prayer is the opening of the heart to God as to a friend. Not that it is necessary in order to make known to God what we are, but in order to enable us to receive Him. Prayer does not bring God down to us, but brings us up to Him”  {SC 93}. Learn more principles on the true science of prayer.  >> Listen Now

 

 


 

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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.

1 Comment

  1. Bro. K

    I much needed this lesson on prayer, and how to pray together with someone for someone else.
    No man is safe for a day or a hour without prayer, says the prophet. We must earnestly seek for the faith that was once delivered unto the saints. And prayer plays a very large part.
    Until next time