Learning to listen . . .

Sandy Landes, Doylestown

For three Sunday evenings in February, March, and April, pastors, prayer intercessors and persons wanting to learn about prayer intercession came together for times of teaching, worship and prayer. Noel Santiago, Leadership Minister for Spiritual Transformation for Franconia Conference, taught on the Basis for Intercession, the Practice of Intercession, and the Power of Intercession. With an average attendance of 60 persons from churches throughout the region, there was a positive response to the teachings and the opportunity to practice what we were learning.

Practice of IntercessionA team from Salem Mennonite Church helped us experience God’s presence with great joy as they led in worship at the first session in February, held at the conference center. Noel’s teaching focused on the Basis of Intercession, and some of the key points in that teaching included:

  • We are bi-locational, being seated in the heavenly places with Christ (Eph. 2:6) and living on earth. We will reflect the world we are most aware of, heaven or earth.
  • We are like Adam, God’s representatives on earth. (Psalm 8:5-6).
  • We have been given authority by God to pray forth what God wants to see happen here on earth, hence we pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).

The second session in March was held at Franconia Mennonite Church due to the wonderful attendance in February. The Practice of Intercession was the focus and we learned:

  • God is always speaking and has a variety of ways of communicating with us. Are we listening?
  • Prayer is finding out what God wants to do and asking God to do it (1 John 5:14).
  • This definition puts our relationship with God at the center and our primary posture in prayer becomes one of listening.
  • One of the challenges is that sometimes we are too quick to pray instead of waiting to hear what is on God’s heart for a person or situation.
  • One of the ways the will of God is accomplished on earth is that it is spoken.

An encouraging part of this evening was taking the time to listen to God and write down the words, thoughts and scriptures we heard. We then turned those words into a crafted prayer, which we were encouraged to keep praying

April 3 was the culminating session of this series and it focused on hearing God for one another, the Power of Intercession. The evening began again with worship and testimonies of how God has answered prayer and changed the way we pray as well as the ways we experience our relationship with God. Some of the main points covered were:

  • Two of the most important factors in our life are what we believe about who God is and who we are.
  • If you are not being shaped by the love of God, you are probably being shaped by your experiences.
  • “The kingdom of God is not a matter of talk, but of power” (I Cor. 4:20).
  • God’s word has power, and embedded in that word is the power to accomplish it (Isaiah 55:10-11).

We closed the evening with another time of listening to God for each other, writing a prayer and then speaking the words of encouragement to each other. Many were blessed by this exercise of hearing a word for another person and trusting that it was God speaking. The group was remindeded to discern the words given to them with others, to judge the word according to biblical principles, and to pay attention to the character requirements of scripture. Those who attended these sessions came away with new understandings of God and what it means to pray by listening first.

More teachings on prayer are being planned, and there will be continuing opportunities to practice what is being taught.
For updates check out prayer.franconiaconference.org.