Is there anyplace in the 30 years the book of Acts covers where we see teaching that if 2 pray together they will have Jesus in their midst and receive whatever it is they are praying about? Is there any teaching from Romans through The Revelation teaching us to do that, and that Jesus will be in our midst if we do so? No.
Jesus made the statement in Matthew 18:19-20 that if 2 agree as touching anything, it would be done, and He is there in their midst. But that's not the doctrinal statement many take it to be. Those 2 verses have been lifted out of context to become one of the planks of church teaching, yet Jesus never intended to make a blanket statement covering everything that if 2 agree in prayer whatever they ask will be done. Nor did He mean that whenever 2 or 3 gather in prayer He will literally be in their midst.
Context is everything
The disclaimer here is that there is power when 2 pray together. I know when Barb and I pray together about something it carries more weight, more spiritual power than when we pray individually. We can feel it, we see the results. And we've agreed in prayer with others and see answered prayer. But maybe it's the prayer that matters and not the number of people praying.
In Matthew 18:11-14 Jesus tells the parable of the Lost Sheep. Briefly:The Shepherd has 100 sheep and 1 goes off into the wilderness. The shepherd will leave the 99 to go into the wilderness to find that 1 lost sheep. When it's found he rejoices. Then v15 continues:
"Moreover, if your brother trespasses against you, go to him, you and him alone, to seek reconciliation."
The 'Moreover' comes right after the Parable of the Lost Sheep, meaning Jesus continues to make His point:"Moreover, if your brother trespasses against you..." That brother who trespassed is that lost sheep of the parable. Jesus is still teaching about the lost sheep but stating it in a different way.
"If he listens to you then you've gained your brother. If not, go and get 1 or 2 others, so that by 2 or 3 your claim can be established."
He doesn't say to avoid or shun them
"If he won't listen to 2 or 3 of you, tell the situation to the leaders of the church." (Remember they met in homes, so this would have been something told to the core leadership couples and individuals.)
"If he won't listen to them, treat him like a heathen and tax collector."
How do you treat the (heathen) unsaved? You love them:"...the goodness of God leads to repentance" Romans 2:4 says. In Matthew 5:43-48 Jesus said to love and do good and to pray for those who are against us that we can be people of love as our Father is, without partiality. So He had already taught how to treat the unsaved.
Jesus isn't saying to shun or ostracize the person who refuses to reconcile, He is saying love them as you would love someone unsaved, trying to show them the love and forgiveness of God. How many pastors have misunderstood the context and told their congregation to avoid the _____ family because they have left the church, or avoid _____ because they are in sin. I've actually had people come to me who experienced this, explaining they work with the person their pastor named and how should they handle it? (I told them ignore the pastor for his is ignorant, and carry on your work relationship as before, and just love the person.)
"I tell you that whatever you bind or loose on earth shall have already been bound or loosed in heaven. Therefore if you 2 or 3 (that originally confronted the brother that sinned) will agree on touching anything they will ask (to restore that lost sheep in accordance with what has already been bound or loosed in heaven) it will be done of my Father in heaven."
"For when you two or three are gathered in my name, I am there in your midst (to go into the wilderness to find that lost sheep that has strayed)."
The context is all about the lost sheep and when all our efforts have been exhausted to bring reconciliation, the original 2 or 3 gather to ask the Great Shepherd to go into the wilderness to find and restore their friend.
What it is, what it is not
This is why you don't see any examples in Acts or teachings in the letters that when 2 people agree in prayer anything they ask will be done. The context was those 2 or 3 gathered to pray for their offended friend who refuses to be reconciled. If they ask the Father to restore him, He will, and when they agree the Great Shepherd is in their midst to take it from there. They've done all they can, now only the Lord can reach that stray sheep.
Is it good and right that 2 or 3 agree in prayer? Absolutely. Is it right to teach Jesus will literally be in their midst and anything they ask will be done? No. The asking is in context about the restoration of a brother, the lost sheep. Stick to that context when you have such a situation, and indeed the Good Shepherd will set about His task of going into the wilderness that sheep has found themself in, and meet them there.
I hope this helps...more next week, until then blessings,
www.cwowi.org and email me at firstname.lastname@example.org