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April 2017 Issue

The Gift of Intercession

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Devotion for Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jesus Attends Prayer Meeting

Read Matthew 18:10-20

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If you . . . know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him! Luke 11:13

The Guinness Book of World Records has fascinated readers since its debut in 1955. Cataloguing everything from “most tattoos” to “largest cheese sculpture,” the book’s pages are a celebration of the biggest and best. In 2009, it even bestowed the record “Person with the Most Records” on Ashrita Furman, winner of 100 Guinness records

In today’s passage, Jesus upends our love for everything big and outwardly impressive. First, He emphasizes the value of a single individual to the body of Christ. Neither a childlike believer (v. 10), nor a doubting and wandering church member (vv. 12–14), nor the person who has separated himself from the Christian community by deliberate sin (vv. 15–17) should be ignored or forgotten. Each “little one” is important.

And, likewise, when a tiny group of believers comes together in prayer, they shouldn’t be dismissed either. Even two people on their knees can agree before God. This agreement has three strands: the believers agree with Christ when “two or three gather in my name” (v. 20). They agree with one another “if two of you on earth agree” (v. 19). And the Father agrees with their united prayer, “it will be done for them by my Father in heaven” (v. 19). A handful of praying people are important.

Though our times of coming together for intercession may never win any world records, they are accompanied by something much better: the promise of Christ’s presence. We gather in His name, with His brothers and sisters, giving Him praise, and asking for things that please Him. Then, by His Spirit, He will be with us. When two or three people pray together, Jesus will attend every time. And the Father will not deny the intercessions of a prayer meeting where Christ is also praying (see Heb. 7:25).

Apply the Word

It can be discouraging to plan or attend a church meeting and have only a few people show up. We can be tempted to think that nothing significant will happen when our numbers are so small. The next time this happens, remember that Christ affirms your value and is present with you no matter how tiny your gathering.

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