Even when you are alone, you are in a prayer meeting.
Where Two or Three are Gathered
If you have ever gathered with a few people to pray, or went to a prayer gathering with lower attendance than expected, an encouraging statement that is often made is, “The Bible says that ‘Where two or three are gathered, He is there.'”
So, is that statement in the Bible? Yes. Is that statement primarily about prayer? Nope.
The statement is found in Matthew 18:20, which reads, “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Here is the entire passage of Matthew 18:15-20 for some context, “If your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault, between you and him alone. If he listens to you, you have gained your brother. But if he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, that every charge may be established by the evidence of two or three witnesses. If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church. And if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
Reading through that passage, it is clear that it is about church discipline and reconciliation, not prayer. Therefore, it could be said, “If two or three witnesses are a part of the church discipline and reconciliation process and they are verifying the truth of the situation against the truth of My (Jesus’) Word, whether the person be found repentant or impenitent, I sign off on the review in My own Name.”
Therefore, as you can see, the statement of, “where two or three are gathered,” actually has little to do with prayer.
God is Always Present and Listening
We may think, “Of course God hears us if thousands of His people are praying!” However, we might have less confidence that God will hear a small group of people praying. Trying to comfort this lack of confidence, the statement of, “where two or three are gathered,” is wrongly introduced.
Now listen, it’s not the worst misinterpretation in the world, in fact, it’s a very minor one. However, it is incorrect not because it claims too much, but because it doesn’t claim enough.
Yes, of course God hears His people when they come together in the multitudes to pray (2 Chronicles 7:14). Additionally, there are passages in the Bible that teach God hears His people when they pray in small groups (James 5:16, Acts 2:42, Acts 12:12). But, guess what? Lastly, the Bible teaches that God hears us when we pray alone (Matthew 6:6, Mark 1:35, Romans 8:26).
Now, think of how silly of a statement it is to say at the beginning of a small prayer gathering, “where to or three are gathered, God is with us!” Well duh. God is with the multitudes when they gather, He is with the small groups when they gather, and He is with you when you pray alone! OF COURSE GOD IS WITH US!
Always in a Prayer Meeting
This is where things get powerful and beautiful. This is why I said that the error of misinterpreting Matthew 18:20 is an issue because it doesn’t go far enough. God is three person, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (Luke 3:21-22).
Now think about this, if God is three persons and you are praying alone, how many people are in the prayer meeting? 4! You are present, God the Father is present, God the Son is present, and God the Holy Spirit is present. Even when you are alone, you are in a prayer meeting.
Final Thought: Your prayers are not heard or answered because of the size of the prayer group, but they are heard and answered because God is present in the meeting, even if that meeting is only made up of Him and you.
Bonus Final Thought: There is one God who is three persons (The Trinity). That is another post for another day.