WEEK TWO, DAY THREE, COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE COMPANION
WEEK TWO THEME: PRAYER
DAY THREE THEME: WHERE TWO OR THREE ARE GATHERED
SCRIPTURE: MATTHEW 18;18-20
SCRIPTURE SNIPPET: “‘For where two or three are gathered in my name, I’m there with them.'”
PONDERINGS: Fasten means to close or join securely, to be closed or done up in a particular place or part in a particular way, to fix or hold in place. Loosen is to make something tied or fastened or fixed in place less tight or firm, relax the grip. Jesus uses these two terms to help us understand the power of prayer. When there is a concern on our hearts, we are encouraged to join together in prayer to either fasten it or loosen it…or maybe both. If a relationship is in doubt, our tendency may be to fasten it – to grasp it ever more tightly in order to keep things the way that we want them. But what we might actually need to do is loosen our grip allowing the other in the relationship to explore and learn and decide on their part of the commitment. Our prayer can be to fasten them in our hearts while loosening them in reality to allow God to work toward the desire of our hearts.
If there are health concerns, we obviously want to join together to pray for health, for the healing that will restore wholeness and allow the living of the day to day to be unencumbered. But at the same time we realize our limited understanding of what all is being asked and we also have to loosen our grip on the outcome to God’s perfect understanding realizing that His answers are far more above and beyond our ability to ask.
The real significance here is to have another to pray with – why? What purpose does having another joining with me in prayer have? Aren’t my prayers powerful enough on their own – does it have to be by committee? I can’t help but wonder here if Jesus doesn’t want us to understand the value in having someone else involved to share in the burden of the concern and in the joy of of the answered prayer! To have someone with “skin on” to agree with us in the difficulty and pray for the desired outcome and hold us accountable to the process. God knows us inside and out and he knows how our insecurities and needs can hinder us from praying openly and honestly. When I am insecure, I might try just to butter up God like being good the month of December so Santa will bring me goodies. God is NOT our great big Santa. God knows our hearts and our growing edges and our immature places, and He’s okay with all of it. He knows that we cannot clearly pray when we are overwhelmed by a circumstance. We feel we need to be good enough and pleasing before requesting – like we have to measure up in order for God to hear our prayer. Joining with another in our prayers helps us borrow some their faith in the process and allows some accountability and safety to say whatever needs to be said to be able to truly release a thing wholly into God’s presence. It also provideds accountability when we become anxious or overly concerned once again.
God is always meeting us where we are – He never expects us to rise to Him – we will simply never be able to, he draws near to us. As we lean more and more into understanding this part of our spirituality, we can ever more look Godward in all things. Carrying around the concept that we have to make ourselves worthy complicates everything and having another presence of a true and trusted friend can allow us to breath through out imperfections as we lean on their faith and understanding when we feel less than or unable. This earthly walk of Christianity was never meant to be done alone. God surrounds us with family and friends who have different roles in our lives, but of them all certainly one can be found for confidentiality and uniting with us in our life’s concerns and trials. God’s yoke is easy because we never do anything along our journey alone.
Praise be to our great God for knowing all that we would ever need. He equips us to be His in our living and even providing prayer partners for fastening and/or loosening all facets of our life. Reaching out, though requiring us to be a bit vulnerable, is healing and wholeness and gives us the togetherness needed to keep on keeping on!