Dear brother TomJ,
Quote "It is true that God hears our prayers. But this promise applies to the issue of discipline discussed in verses 15-17. The ‘two of you’ is referring back to the two or three of the witnesses involved earlier in the disciplining process. It is not a guarantee of answered prayers based on the two individuals agreeing on."
Thank you for your exposition. I would like to express my perspective on v19. I feel the use of the word 'again' at the beginning of v19 makes that statement stand out on "its own right" and can be interpreted in and out of context. It seems that the Lord is suggesting a general principle.
I feel, that when two Spirit filled individuals agree on something, it is the work of none other than the Lord. It is the Lord leading them to work His will. Otherwise, it is generally not possible for two to agree on anything, since all of us are intrinsically different. But acting under the control of God's Spirit, it is possible (I dare say, ONLY under the Spirit's control) for two to agree. Thus, if two agree on ANYTHING (meaning as lead by God's Spirit) and they pray about it, God WILL answer that prayer POSITIVELY. Of course, it does not imply that God will answer immediately, but He will do so in His perfect time.
Quote "We gave this verse an honorary status such as the ‘minimum requirement for a quorum’ for a meeting."
I too have heard this verse(v20) used to express a supposed contentment at our diminished gatherings, being assured of the Lord's presence. However, I feel most "knowledgeable believers" are using the verse sometimes with a sense of humor. But mostly many, when quoting this verse, are trying to fight dejection and brave the sad reality of diminished attendance in weekly meetings, taking courage in the Lord's promise to be with them, even if only 2 or 3 show up. Again, I feel v20 also, can be interpreted in and out of context.