The Power of Intercession

By Linda Tancs

Bishop and missionary Charles H. Brent observed that “intercessory prayer might be defined as loving our neighbor on our knees.” Indeed, interceding for others through prayer is an act of love, consistent with the commandment to love one’s neighbor (Mark 12:31). The Bible gives us several examples of intercessory prayer, one of the most prominent being Jesus’s prayer for his executioners (Luke 23:34). How often do you offer intercessory prayers? Do you offer them for your neighbors, friends, colleagues, family—and even your foes?

Who can you pray for right now?

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As part of FOOT FORWARD MINISTRIES, Go Forward in Faith represents faith-based meditations for personal and professional growth. Learn more at goforwardinfaith.com. Follow us on Twitter @moveonfaith and join the Facebook group @goforwardinfaith.

 

 

 

A Common Enemy

By Linda Tancs

Many times a crime story will relate that the victim has no enemies. In everyday life (the visible world), that may be true of some folks. But in the invisible world we all have a common enemy—the devil. He prowls about like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour (1 Peter 5:8). His influence manifests in evil, anger, resentment, inferiority, superiority and pride, to name a few things.

How do you defeat this enemy? By putting on God’s armor, spiritual clothing designed to thwart the wiles of the adversary (Ephesians 6:13-18). That includes shoes of peace (walking in peace), a belt of truth (living in the truth of Scripture), the sword of the Spirit (speaking the Word), the breastplate of righteousness (knowing who you are in Christ) and the shield of faith (believing God’s Word). Above all, pray, and you’ll yield a God-given harvest of love, compassion, hope and faith. And that gives you the power to overcome evil doings (1 John 5:4).

In God’s Hands

By Linda Tancs

I love watching antiques shows and other programs that explore the value of things. A baseball is just a baseball unless Babe Ruth threw it. A dusty painting in the attic is worth at best a few dollars unless it turns out to be a da Vinci.

On a spiritual level, the value of things turns out quite differently when placed in God’s hands. Jesus was able to take a few loaves of bread and some fish on two occasions and feed thousands of people (Matthew 14:13-21 and 15:32-39; Mark 6:31-44 and 8:1-9; Luke 9:12-17; John 6:1-14).  He also turned water into wine at a wedding ceremony, performing his first miracle (John 2:1-11). In each case, His divine ability to meet the needs of everyone around Him is illustrated.

Imagine how powerful it would be to place your cares in God’s hands. The returns are priceless.

Busyness or Business?

By Linda Tancs

How often have you heard, or said, “I’m so busy.” What is busyness? Sometimes, it’s action for the sake of action (“busy work”), something to do to fill the void. Other times it’s something necessary and purposeful, like washing the dishes or preparing a meal. Business, on the other hand, often implies a purposeful activity, something with real consequence attached, like personal or professional growth, income or reputation.

The difference between busyness and business is found in Luke’s telling of Jesus’ friends Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42). When Jesus visited their home, Martha was too busy attending to household tasks to enjoy Jesus’ company like Mary did. Martha even asked Jesus to chastise Mary for not helping with the hostess duties! Instead, He chastised Martha. Why? Because despite Martha’s seemingly hard work, Mary was the one who was truly productive. She got down to business, so to speak, in the Word of God. She took advantage of the opportunity for personal growth and understanding by learning at Jesus’ feet. She seized the day.

Sometimes the distinction between busyness and business comes down to a state of “being” (like Mary) or “doing” (like Martha). We all need to be doers in some respect, but don’t neglect being in relationship with Christ. When you’re lost in a maze of duties, lay down the distractions and put on His mind (Hebrews 12:2).

A popular poem called The Dash by Linda Ellis reminds us that all that separates birth and death is a dash (–). What does that dash represent for you? Busyness or business?

A Primer on Prayer

By Linda Tancs

What does it mean to pray?

Matthew 6:5-14 teaches the value of secret prayer from a humble and fervent heart. The passage makes clear that prayer is intended to give God all the glory. When we pray for the hearing and approval of others (Matthew 6:5), we deny ourselves Trinitarian communion. As Paul wrote in Galatians 1:10 (AMPC), “Now am I trying to win the favor of men, or of God? Do I seek to please men? If I were still seeking popularity with men, I should not be a bond servant of Christ.” Secret prayer, therefore, means keeping our personal prayer experiences private rather than displaying them to impress people. Private prayer should also be short and simple (Matthew 6:7) so that the energy of prayer is spent in releasing faith rather than in reciting lengthy passages. Short and simple prayers are clearer and more powerful.

The Lord’s Prayer (Matthew 6: 9-13) illustrates the essential character of prayer as adoration, contrition, thanksgiving and supplication. In adoration, the prayer teaches us to recognize God’s holy nature (hallowed be Your name). As a matter of contrition, we are taught that prayer is a confession of sin and repentance (forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors). To forgive does not mean to agree with the offender but rather to leave vindication to God so that our own sins may be forgiven by Him. We are to be thankful for God’s intercession (lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil) and boldly ask for our daily needs to be met (give us this day our daily bread). In this manner, we pray in a way that glorifies the kingdom rather than our individual wants or needs (for Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever).

Think about your petitions (work, home, health, relationships) and how to frame them in accordance with prayer’s essential character.