…If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.
— Matthew 18:19
When our family moved to Moscow in September 2000, we were new to the city and didn’t have close friendships with other local pastors simply because we didn’t know them yet. As often happens when a new church starts, some people from other churches began to visit our church, and the other pastors didn’t appreciate that fact. They were concerned that their people would relocate to our church. This didn’t actually happen as much as the pastors predicted, but I fully understood their concern. On one hand, they were glad we moved to Moscow. But on the other hand, they weren’t too happy about the concerns it raised for them.
Yet as time passed, it became necessary for those of us who pastor in Moscow to work together on various issues that concerned us all. As we got to know each other better, fears and suspicions melted away, and an amazing thing occurred — we started to value each other’s gifts and strengths and genuinely care for one another as friends! Soon key church leaders in the city began to reach out to Denise and me and warmly receive us.
*[If you started reading this from your email, begin reading here.]
When our ministry decided to purchase and renovate a new church facility in Moscow, these local ministers encouraged us with one accord to take that huge step of faith, which has since proven to be a successful venture in God’s plan for our ministry. Years before when we first arrived in Moscow, some of these very ministers had opposed our coming to start a new church. Today we’re all linked together in a vital way that has benefited everyone involved. We’re not just “brothers and sisters in the Lord” — we are friends.
In Matthew 18:19, Jesus taught about the enormous power that exists when believers get in agreement with each other. He said, “…If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”
The Greek word for “agree” in this verse is sumphoneo. It means to agree together, to make a bargain, or to come to an agreement. It is the Greek word from which the word “symphony” is derived. A symphony orchestra combines many diverse instruments under the direction of a skilled conductor to produce a beautiful, musical masterpiece, and its impact extends far beyond what any one instrument could achieve on its own. This imagery paints a perfect analogy for the Christian community as God intended it to be.
My own ministry has been powerfully enriched because I am a part of a “symphony orchestra” of ministers in the city of Moscow. The unified front of this group has made an impact that could never have been as great if each of us had tried to accomplish the same goals individually. Over the years, we have spoken to each other in ways that have positively changed our attitudes, doctrines, and practices. Do we always agree on finer points of doctrine? No! But we’re the family of God, and we act like it. After all, we don’t always agree with our natural family members either — but we’re all still family, tied together by blood and birth. The same thing is true in the family of God. We were all purchased by the blood of Jesus and born of God’s Spirit. As Paul said: “There is one body, and one Spirit…one God and Father of all…. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Ephesians 4:4-7).
I feel privileged to have experienced the power of agreement when church leaders reach out to each other in esteem and respect for each other’s gifts and callings. And I can tell you this — I wouldn’t want to work in God’s Kingdom any other way. Unity among the brethren reflects the heart of the Father, and He says that where unity prevails, the anointing of His presence saturates and commands His blessing to manifest in their midst (see Psalm 133)!
MY PRAYER FOR TODAY
Father, I am so grateful that unity reflects Your heart and causes the anointing of Your presence to saturate us and manifest Your blessing in our midst. Enormous power exists when believers get in agreement with You and with each other. Holy Spirit, I ask You to teach me and the body of believers You have planted me in how to operate just like a symphony orchestra. I ask this also for the Body of Christ at large. As many instruments combined with a wide array of sounds, help us yield to Your direction as a skilled Conductor so that all those sounds blend together into a beautiful musical masterpiece. Help us symphonize in faith and unity more and more so we may have greater power in prayer and action and make a phenomenal impact on the listeners that extends far beyond what any one instrument could achieve on its own.
I pray this in Jesus’ name!
MY CONFESSION FOR TODAY
I confess that I contribute to the unity the Father desires the Body of Christ to operate in. I refuse to adopt an adversarial role when He has called me to do everything I can to achieve unity. We have more that unites us than divides us, so I choose to focus on the things that bring us together instead of the things that drive us apart. I thank You for the support I’ve found from other believers and ministers, and I ask You to help me be a support to others who are stepping out in faith to do what You have asked them to do.
I declare this by faith in Jesus’ name!
QUESTIONS FOR YOU TO CONSIDER
- Can you think of a time when the Body of Christ really got behind you and supported an idea that God birthed in your heart? What did their support mean to you?
- On the other hand, can you think of a time when it seemed no one would get in agreement with what God had revealed to you? Did that make it difficult to forge ahead?
- Were there also times when you could have been more supportive of others than you were? What do you think of that now? Have you repented for being unsupportive when your encouragement could have made all the difference in the world for those who were stepping forward in faith?