Course: Prayer (1) The Importance of Effective Prayer

Lesson 6

Extract from Andrew Murray ‘With Christ in the School of Prayer,

Chapter 15  The Power of United Prayer.

‘Again I say unto you, That 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.' (Matthew 18 19, 20).

The marks of true united prayer are given us in these words of our Lord. 

·        Agreement

The first is agreement as to the thing asked.  There must not only be generally the consent to agree with anything another may ask:  there must be some special thing, matter of distinct united desire; the agreement must be, as all prayer, in spirit and in truth.  In such agreement it will become very clear to us what exactly we are asking, whether we may confidently ask according to God’s will, and whether we are ready to believe that we have received what we ask.

·        Gathering in the Name of Jesus

The second mark is the gathering in, or into, the Name of Jesus.  We shall afterwards have much more to learn of the need and the power of the Name of Jesus in prayer; here our Lord teaches us that the Name must be the centre of union to which believers gather, the bond of union that makes them one, just as a home contains and unites all who are in it.  ‘The Name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runneth into it and escape.’  That Name is such a reality to those who understand and believe it, that to meet within it is to have Himself present.  The love and unity of His disciples have to Jesus infinite attraction:  ‘Where two or three are gathered in my Name, there am I in the midst of them.’  It is the living presence of Jesus, in the fellowship of His loving praying disciples, that gives united prayer its power.

·        Answer

The third mark is, the sure answer:  ‘It shall be done for them of my Father.’  A prayer-meeting for maintaining religious fellowship, or seeking our own edification, may have its use; this was not the Saviour’s view in its appointment.  He meant it as a means of securing special answer to prayer.  A prayer meeting without recognised answer to prayer ought to be an anomaly.  When any of us have distinct desires in regard to which we feel too weak to exercise the needful faith, we ought to seek strength in the help of other.  In the unity of faith and of love and of the Spirit, the power of the Name and the Presence of Jesus acts more freely and the answer comes more surely.  The mark that there has been true united prayer is the fruit, the answer, the receiving of the thing we have asked:  ‘I say unto you, It shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.’


What an unspeakable privilege this of united prayer is, and what a power it might be. 

·        If the believing husband and wife knew that they were joined together in the Name of Jesus to experience His presence and power in united prayer (1 Peter);

·        if friends believed what mighty help two or three praying in concert could give each other;

·        if in every prayer meeting the coming together in the Name, the faith in the Presence, and the expectation of the answer, stood in the foreground;

·        if in every Church united effectual prayer were regarded as one of the chief purposes for which they are banded together, the highest exercise of their power as a Church;

·        if in the Church universal the coming of the kingdom, the coming of the King Himself, first in the mighty outpouring of His Holy Spirit, then in His own glorious person, were really matter of unceasing united crying to God;—O who can say what blessing might come to, and through, those who thus agreed to prove God in the fulfilment of His promise.