There are elements in the Christian life that mark it with beauty and wellbeing. They make a person fit for being a blessing to others in this world. They are the attitudes that call forth heroic virtues of the life of faith. Nothing shows more nobility of character that the spirit of daring and perseverance which battles major difficulties and conquers. So should we who are Christians be able to face the difficulties we meet in prayer. The blessings that others need must be called down from heaven in persevering, believing prayer.
These are the marks of a true intercessor:
• An understanding of the need of those who don’t know Christ
• A Christlike love
• An awareness of personal inadequacy
• Faith in the power of prayer
• Courage to persevere in spite of refusal
• The assurance of an abundant reward
These are the qualities that change a Christian into an intercessor.
Scriptures for the day: Luke 11:7, Romans 8:26-28
Is it possible to do much faithful, earnest, and sacrificial work for others without genuine love for them? Out of a high sense of calling and faithfulness to their profession, a physician can become deeply involved in the needs of their patients without a tincture of special love for them. In the same manner, Christians may give themselves to their work with devotion and self-sacrificing passion without any strong Christlike love.
The lack of love causes a lack of prayer. Love will compel us to pray. It is the nature of love to forget itself for the sake of others. We talk a lot about the power of love. In one sense this is true, and yet the truth has limitations. The most robust love may be utterly inadequate. Inadequacy can be our hope and refuge. Why? All my passion and zeal eventually ends, and I have nothing. Insufficiency gives strength to the life of intercession. My love takes refuge in intercession, and the Spirit makes up for my lack.
The administration of the Holy Spirit is guided by one great principle: God gives the Spirit in response to our asking. The pouring out of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost was given in answer to prayer.
What we must have is absolute, determined prayer. This is what lies at the root of the spiritual life and power of the church. The degree with which God gives His Spirit is determined by our asking. Is it possible for a man or woman to work and still keep the heavenly world in clear focus for the maintenance of the spiritual life? Read on.
In the most profound picture of prayer we find in the gospels, Luke 11: 1-13, Jesus teaches the disciples to pray in response to their request. We focus on the Lord’s Prayer and fail to realize that part of His teaching is the parable that follows. It is the parable of the man who has a friend that comes to him at midnight in need of bread. Because of the man’s persistence, he is fed. Jesus teaches in the parable that learning to pray with the power Holy Spirit is simply this:
“Ask and it will be given to you.”
“Seek and you shall find.”
“Knock and it shall be opened.”
“HOW MUCH MORE SHALL YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER GIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT TO THOSE W HO ASK HIM?” Luke 11:9-13
Verses for the day: James 4:2, 1 Tim. 2:8
Whether attending conferences, teaching classes or participating in church, prayer is often the subject of conversation. I hear this spoken everywhere, “We don’t pray enough!” Yet, there seems to be the fear that because of the pressure from work and the force of habit, little hope lies for a change.
I regularly talk with people who now understand the importance of prayer yet seem paralyzed to make any change. What a sobering confession and with it the warning brought. We pray too little.
Which has more importance, the call of God for our time and attention, or work? If the God of Heaven is waiting to meet us and give us the power we need to bring the Kingdom of Heaven to earth, it is shortsighted to put other things in the place of prayer?
If we want to experience God’s presence, there must be more definite and persevering prayer.
Scriptures for the day: Matthew 6:15, Matthew 18:21, and Matthew 18:33,35
Have you ever had a true enemy? They will tap your phone, have you followed and hire private investigators to find out what they can of your children. They don’t want to harm you or get even; they want to destroy you. There is no limit to how far they will stoop. Could you forgive and love someone like this?
Forgiveness of sins is the one great gift that sets the sinner free. Forgiveness is the source of our salvation. As you and I walk with God and have the assurance of forgiveness of sins, He desires that we extend that same forgiveness towards others. However, the seriousness of forgiveness goes dramatically further: if we refuse to forgive others, we will not be forgiven (Matt. 6:15).
This scandalous forgiveness that the Lord asks of us, who is able? And then the, even more, mind-boggling admonition in Matt: 18:33, 35. So the servant that would not forgive his fellow servant was sent to prison. Then the Lord warns us: “That’s what my heavenly Father will do to you if you refuse to forgive your brothers and sisters in your heart.” It is only through the Holy Spirit of God that we can appropriate this kind of forgiveness. But it is there for the taking if we will cry out to God. Oh, the great rejoicing in my heart as I realize I have forgiven my enemy. Forgiveness: the great gift that sets the sinner free.
Scriptures for the day: Titus 3:3, Col. 3:11
I grew up seeing dramatic race prejudice on my mother and father’s side of the family. I have to “check-in” with the Lord often to make sure my heart is clean from this heritage and it has no part of me. What a terribly sad condition. It is the darkest side of the human race. How could such a deplorable state come about in the lives of people? The answer is simple, “Adam’s fall.” Cain, the first child born of the man God created, shed the blood of his brother. Can you imagine such a thing! Humanity’s love of their own people, implanted in their hearts by God, soon changes to murderous hatred.
Love of country becomes the source of race-hatred and bloodshed. God judges and tests us. He now places the races side by side to see if our Christianity will enable us to overcome race-hatred. Does it really matter what race you are?
We have a great opportunity to prove the power of God’s love to change race-hatred into brotherly love. Here’s the deal: we must pray for ourselves and for each other that we would obey God’s Word and live in the power