Before you go and post your prayer request on Facebook, or any place else online, let’s take a moment to explore what the recommended biblical methodology involved really is in generating those strong prayers that only God truly can answer. I’m pretty sure that after reading this you’ll no longer think that it’s all as cut and dry as posting to Facebook, or sending out an email.
It is true that Jesus himself tells us, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything 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.”
Many folks quote the above as a justification when presenting their prayer requests to us. “However,” when you stop to look at these passages, “What is really being said here?” And, how does this apply to the use of platforms like Facebook for prayer requests?
Well, let’s start with the bit where Jesus clearly states, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.” Look more closely at the first part of the statement where it says, “If two of you shall agree.” The operative word here seems to be “agree” doesn’t it?
Now, let’s look at how prayer requests are traditionally done these days; both online and off. We are asked to pray for XY and Z; if not outright told to do so. We’re really never given the opportunity to say no. Our input as to the wisdom of petitioning the Lord about certain things as a group is often never requested and nor do the people asking us to pray seem to ever want to consider it.
“So,” how are we supposed to pray effectively as a group if our “genuine” agreement is required as a part of the process? But, “Don’t stop reading just yet,” because there’s another part of the equation to consider so that my point here will make sense to you.
Jesus also states that, “where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” The operative word in this statement is, “Gathered.”
In The Bible there is only one way people gathered together and it wasn’t via the internet. “It was in person.”
“Yeah!” When people prayed together as a group in biblical times they “gathered” together in close physical proximity to one another to do so. “And,” why did they do this?
Clearly, by all biblical accounts, there is power in group prayer. Clearly Jesus was trying to tell us this; us totally missing the boat in modern times; getting carried away with our own cleverness via our usage of technology. But, Jesus makes it very clear in the above two passages found in Matthew 18:,19-20; when it comes to prayer requests “agreement” amongst the group praying and a “gathering” of people in real-time is required, along with just one more little detail added. “Have you gotten there yet?”
“Yes,” if you’ve guessed that when praying as a group for one person, place, or thing, “The prayer must be done simultaneously,” you would be correct. There is no praying one at a time out loud. There is no “posting” of prayers on the internet.
There is only a group of people “physically gathered together” in “agreement” in what they are praying for, “Simultaneously.” Praying “simultaneously” is essential here.
Jesus doesn’t say this directly; however, if you read Matthew 18:19-20 enough times and contemplate its meaning; you just might get the sense that, “Simultaneous prayer is an implied element,” to effective group prayer. Otherwise there would be no need to “agree” upon what to pray or even “gather” together as one physical body of people to pray for anything.
Prayers are like candles. One candle in the night burns brightly. When you combine one candle with other candles in a group; the light becomes brighter still.
Candle light can’t be transmitted via a web page or an email. Its light is not going to shine through your voice mail or text messaging applications either. The only way a candle can add more light to the darkness is via joining together with other candles in a group.
When we pray, “We are all like that lone candle in the night.” We only have so much power as one candle. However, when we burn simultaneously with other candles in a group; depending upon the size of that group, “Night just may very well become day.”
“And,” based on what I’ve read in The Bible, “Even the Lord notices when a bright light is burning.” So, “Yeah,” we want to pray as a real group of people; Facebook or any other form of online communication hardly being the most effective way of getting the Lord’s attention.