Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Prayer is vital for living life together in the context of community in a local church. It is a key way in which we bear one another’s burdens . As we engage in intercessory prayer on behalf of others, we are reflecting the present ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ who now, at the right hand of the Father, “is able to save to the uttermost those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them” (Heb. 7:25).
Since this is true, how do we ensure that we are truly engaging in this loving ministry of intercessory prayer and not just using it as a means to remain in the know, or to communicate issues that ought not to be shared, or to gossip?
Matt Mitchell, who serves as pastor at the Lanse EFC, Lanse, PA, wrote his Doctor of Ministry project on a biblical understanding of and response to gossip. Mitchell has multiplied the efforts of this excellent work by publishing the book, Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue, teaching and writing in various places regarding the content of the book. His desire is to be faithful to the Lord and the teaching of Scripture so that he can serve the body of Christ faithfully.
Mitchell recently had a guest post on The Exchange, Ed Stetzer’s blog, addressing the important and practical issue of Gossip and Prayer Requests. I encourage you to read this post. Though brief, it has much food for thought and teeth for pastoral practice.