Matthew 18:19-20 Prayer answered?


In Matthew 18:19-20, we are told the following:

“Again, I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything for which they are to pray, it shall be granted to them by my heavenly Father. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”

My wife and I were recently going over this Scriptural teaching because we believe that four years ago she did in fact received a maricle healing from cancer. We believed this happened because we prayed a number of times together for a healing from her stage four cancer. The result has been that she has been free from cancer for the last four years. We are so very thankful!!

However, the question came up that many people must pray together for healings, ect and yet not all prayer requests are answered in the affirmative. Take for example, the holocaust victims. There must have been many who prayed together long and hard for survival but God did not answer them in the affirmative. So, how is one to understand the above Scriptural teaching?


Excellent question… I await the answers.

I’m happy to hear your wife is a miracle cure from Cancer.
Blessings to both of you.


The context of this verse is dealing with sin in the Church.

If we examine Matthew 18:15-20, Jesus said that if you have a brother who sins against you, then you need to go to him and try to work it out. If he refuses to acknowledge his fault, then you bring one or two more witnesses to help work things out. So including you, that would make two or three witnesses, recognize that phrase? Not only is it repeated in these verses, but it comes from the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 19:15 and more). Legal cases needed to have two or three witnesses to establish a matter.

If the sinning brother did not make things right in the presence of two or three witnesses, then the case was to be brought before the church. If he refused to listen to the Church’s decision, then he was to be thrown out of the congregation. It is with this in mind that Jesus said that the Father would grant the request of two or more who gather together in Christ’s name and are in agreement. Agreement on what? On disciplining the erring brother. That is what this passage is about though so many Christians often use it as though Jesus promised to answer their prayers when offered in certain situations.

What else does the Bible say about prayer?

The Apostle John wrote, “Now this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him” (1 John 5:14–15). John also wrote, “And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight” (1 John 3:22).

So we can have confidence about God answering our prayers when we are obediently following Him and praying according to His will. If someone has not experienced answered prayer, then perhaps that person may not be living in obedience and/or praying according to His will. Or perhaps God did answer and a person may not recognize the response since God often answers in ways we may not expect.

Blessings and peace. :slight_smile:


@ drz888 that was really well said. Thank you!


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit