All posts tagged: Intercession

Honesty in prayer

There has been a trend in recent years, largely due to the influence of the faith movement, that we need to declare faith and belief in the situations we face in our life. Some refer to this as ‘blab it and grab it’. Yet, I am beginning to wonder if we need less declarations of faith and more honesty in our prayer life. And we see that in the story of a man desperate to see his son healed of a demonic affliction. After Jesus took Peter, James and John up on the Mount of Transfiguration for a remarkable encounter with some Old Testament saints, a man approached the disciples who remained below asking for help for his son who was being plagued by an evil spirit (Mark 9: 14-29). However, the disciples were unable to deliver the boy, and when Jesus and the disciples came down the hill they encountered the commotion surrounding the failed deliverance. The man then approached Christ, pleading for help. First, he complained that the Lord’s disciples had been unable …

How are we to pray for our leaders? Pray counterintuitively

When we look at what is happening with Russia and Ukraine, and the events taking place in Canada and the US, we need to take a closer look at the Apostle Paul’s encouragement to pray for our leaders. Because in this passage, he also explains how we are to pray for them: I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. This is good and pleases God our Savior, who wants everyone to be saved and to understand the truth. (1 Timothy 2:1-3) Remembering that Nero was the Roman emperor when Paul encouraged believers to: Pray that God will help our leaders; Intercede on their behalf (pray for them, not against them); Thank God for them; and Pray for their salvation. In other words, we are not to pray God’s judgment on them when …

Casting and thanking are keys to dealing with stress

According to an article published in Psychology Today, personal prayer provides several psychological benefits to the individual praying. The article entitled, ‘”Prayer and Mental Illness’, written by Rob Whitley, Ph.D., discussed two large studies that revealed prayer positively strengthens a person’s mental well-being. One study, published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, concluded that young adults who prayed daily experienced less anxiety and had a higher self-esteem and were more satisfied with life than those who didn’t. This was a large study involving several thousand students and even included follow up for several years after. Whitley cited another survey of 2,000 adult Californians experiencing mental illness, where 80% “agreed or strongly agreed” that prayer helped them during their struggles. This second study confirmed Whitley’s own research on African Americans, who stated that “regular prayer was a major factor in their recovery” from their struggles with mental illness. Stress is a significant contributor to physical and mental health problems. In 1 Peter 5:7, the Apostle Peter encourages us to cast or throw all our concerns and …

Finding your secret place of prayer

Sometimes, I find it hard to pray. I feel disconnected and far from God. It seems that I have to pray long prayers and work hard to get God’s attention. What is my perception of prayer that it makes it seem like such an effort? Do I feel unworthy or not good enough? Do I feel like I’m barely existing and disconnected from myself, people and God? Thankfully, there is a divine connection available to us, and we can have unlimited access to heaven, at all times. Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6) And, if you believe that Jesus is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for your sins and was resurrected from the dead, you have the key to connecting with heaven from here on earth. To help me pray easily and effectively, I often create a garden, a secret place in my mind, where I can go anytime day or night. I …

The power of the ‘Okay, fine, whatever’ prayer

As Christians, we often have an attitude about prayer similar to an anesthesiologist who said ‘Okay, fine, whatever,’ when one of America’s leading surgeons facing the cancellation of a surgery said he wanted to pray for a patient. At times, we treat prayer as more of an afterthought, something we should do as Christians, but sometimes treat like an inconvenience. But, CBN tells the interesting story of the power of a short “Okay, fine, whatever” prayer had in a person’s life, both physically and spiritually. Duke University’s Doctor Michael Haglund, one of the America’s leading cervical surgeons, was facing the cancellation of a surgery after the anesthesiologist reported that he could not put the man to sleep as his blood pressure was dangerously high at 220/120. He recommended cancelling the surgery. However, Doctor Haglund replied that before that happened, he wanted to pray for his patient. The anesthesiologist responded with “Okay, fine, whatever.” And in the operating room, with the patient wide awake, Dr. Haglund uttered a simple prayer and in a few seconds the …

Did Luke Bernard’s healing involve ‘battering’ prayer?

Doctors told the family of actor Luke Benjamin Bernard, 25, that it would be a miracle if he survived his serious car accident in a vegetative state. Bernard came from a Christian home and in a podcast on Pureflix, Bernard shared his story of what happened after a serious car accident in 2013. When he arrived at hospital, doctors classified him as level 3 on the Glasgow Coma Scale. His pupils were dilated and fixed and doctors told his family to get to the hospital as soon as possible fearing death was imminent. However, his Christian parents would not accept his death sentence. They began praying for their son, and Bernard explained the two important elements of their prayer that led to his miracle recovery. First, he says it was persistent prayer “Basically, they did the best thing they could for me … and the only thing they could have done was — they prayed. They read scriptures, they sang praise … at my bedside again and again and again.” Secondly, he says it was …

Can we block our own prayers?

What is your stance these days in light of all that is happening? What are your thoughts? Are they fear based or faith based? Are you standing on solid ground or shaky ground? Do we need to shift our prayers from a place of fear and frustration and step onto more solid ground? The Apostle Peter writes: “Seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. (2 Peter 1:3) Based on this promise, I have challenged myself to change my position from pleading to God for help to stepping into a posture of thanksgiving and praise. God’s word says that He has already given us everything we need to live a life of abundance. Asking for what we want or need is a good thing, but staying stuck in a place of continual pleading may block us from receiving or even seeing God’s provision and answers to our prayers because of our frustration and …

Keeping Prayer Simple

When I looked at prayer in the past, I thought it meant praying for at least one hour before it counted, and this belief discouraged me from entering into prayer. I believed that it was just too hard to incorporate into my everyday life and as a result prayer was often the last thing I did. Then I started feeling guilty about not praying enough, and this led me to just stop praying altogether because I felt my prayers weren’t good enough or long enough, so why bother. The priests ministering in the temple in the Old Testament had a great spiritual responsibility to offer sacrifices to God for the sins of the people. But they also had other duties. These were called ‘sacred lots’ where the menial duties of priesthood were divided up including such things as kitchen duties, yard work and providing oversight to the Levites. They had other necessary duties that did not include the sacrifices, but were important enough to be called ‘sacred.’ Understanding that the Old Testament priests had menial …

Touching heaven, touching earth

Like many these days, I am praying more often than usual and in so many ways God has used this season of ‘panic’ COVID-19 to pull me into prayer more consistently than I have done for many years. Yes, God clearly used this time to ‘work out good,’ and bring out good disciplines in my life.  But there has been a change in how I pray. I am now praying more often, but not as long as I used too. These are not extended periods of prayers. They can be short just two to five minutes or sometimes longer. As well, I have set aside specific times to pray. When the clock strikes 8 am, 12 noon, 4 pm, 8 pm and 12 midnight, these are my designated times to pray. I start first by giving thanks. I often take five slow deep breaths to help clear my mind and slow my thoughts and then I enter into a time of prayer. Sometimes things come up and I miss my time, but I carry on with …

What About me, God?

There are times in which it is hard to believe. Times in which it is hard to have faith. We pray and pray and we hope and hope for a miracle that just never seems to come. What do you do when that happens? Why does that happen? How come other people get healed, get a job, find true love, or seem to get whatever else they want? Well there are really only two places to look at when we pray. There’s God. And there’s you. I don’t know how many times people point the finger at some poor schmuck like me and tell me that it’s my fault God doesn’t answer my prayers. That maybe I have some unconfessed sin in my life, or that I don’t have enough faith to get what I asked for. Then there’s the other side of the table. Some people even tell me there’s no God or that He doesn’t care or love me. Perhaps He is not interested in my petty little things. Maybe I shouldn’t even …

Praying like a child of God

Español: Orar como un hijo de Dios I have had many thoughts about prayer lately.  And, I have noticed one thing I often get stuck in and that is asking, begging and pleading to God for answers especially when facing desperate circumstances in my life or that of a loved one. I do believe there is a time for seeking God for answers and even miracles like Hannah who poured out her heart before God on her knees crying, shaking at times in her desperation for a child because she was barren. In these moments, the Holy Spirit will engage with our prayers and intercession. I have been there. During the early years of our marriage I found myself bent over in prayer asking, requesting and pleading to God for a child and this went on for a long period. I was desperate. But there needs to be a balance and part of this includes a shift in attitude because I believe it is possible to block blessings, provisions, answers by getting stuck in prayers …

Maybe it’s more than a coincidence? Israeli paratroopers discover ancient watchtower

It was more than a bit ironic when soldiers with the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) discovered an ancient watchtower associated with the days of King Hezekiah during the 8th century BCE. The IDF paratroopers had set up a base on a hilltop in Southern Israel when they accidentally discovered the tower. After making the discovery, the soldiers actually participated in the dig. The remains of the tower were about 6 feet (1.83 m) in height and archaeologists estimate that it was originally 15 feet (4.57 m) high with a diameter of 10.5 feet (3.2 m). This was a significant structure as the foundation stones weighed about 8 tons. According to the archaeologists this tower, built on top of a hill, would have provided ancient Israeli military commanders an excellent view on activities taking place in the Philistine nation, particularly one of its major cities Ashkelon. Israel built a series of towers and fortresses along the border that were within view of each other, so it would allow a tower to send up a warning using …

The Big Leagues

I like to think of myself as a full service preacher. I like to preach and nobody has fallen asleep since that time when I got everybody to quietly just leave their shoes and jackets on their seats. We all snuck in the back room and blew a trumpet really loud. Poor guy! Thought he missed the rapture! Okay, I didn’t do that but if anybody actually does fall asleep… Sometimes I can get pretty happy in my role. You know I start feeling good and confident. And then someone says it’s prayer time. I can prayer with the best of them. For about five minutes. The other day I was invited to an intercessory prayer meeting. For those of you who don’t know, this is not for the faint of heart or the simple-minded. This is the equivalent of being asked to try out for your favorite professional sports team! My wife, Stella, and I head out to the meeting. I entered the room with confidence. After all not only was I a preacher, …

The bush displaying its leaves and berries late in the fall while we were on our prayer walk,

Our prayer walk

My friend Linda and I were on a walk praying for the nation of Canada. As a prophetic act we released leaves into water representing “healing for the nations” spoken of in the Book of Revelation: “On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.” (Revelation 22:2 NIV) We prayed that racial divides and rifts in our country would be healed and Canada, together with the nations, would stream to Mount Zion and be healed and restored to God and one another. Afterwards we were attracted to the shrubs that lined the path around the lake. Though it was late fall, their leaves were still green and clusters of red berries filled the branches. It was in stark contrast to the barren trees and leaves that were laying on the ground. We were drawn to the clusters of bright red berries on the shrubs. Linda shared that the berries were …

Bridge in Resistencia, Argentina going over Rio Negro River Credit: Google Earth

RESISTENCIA – The Discovery 2005

Español: RESISTENCIA – El Descubrimiento 2005 Gary, Robin and I had travelled to Resistencia, Argentina to try to discover corroborating evidence of the existence of Clifford Long and a Resistencia Revival. Veto, our driver and interpreter arrived at the hotel to pick us up and I gave instructions to Veto that we needed to go to the oldest area of Resistencia. The building that we were looking for had to be at least 50 years old. I also inquired of Veto whether there was a river that ran thru the northwest of Resistencia. “Yes, he replied, it’s called the Rio Negro.” Veto took us to the old area of town and whenever we saw a building like the one that was described in a prophecy we would ask him to stop, we would get out and I would put my hand on the wall of the building and see if I felt anything. This we did about 4 times, I later found out that Veto thought we were in the movie industry and we were …

Church in Lanin National Park, Argentina Credit: javierinsitu/Flickr/Creative Commons

ARGENTINA – Ready or not here we come!

Español: ARGENTINA – ¡Listos o no aquí vamos! The message that I received during my Third Heavenly Visitation was “I WANT MY ARGENTINIAN REVIVAL TO MOVE NORTH – THE RESISTENCIA FOUNTAIN OPEN!” I had no experience in the history of revival and I knew nothing about an Argentinian Revival. My only response was what am I supposed to do? Elizabeth Barrett Browning in her Sonnets from the Portuguese asked a question. “How do I love thee, let me count the ways.” Jesus has loved me, and I love him back and so I wanted to give to him what He desired. When my wife, Trish, comes to me and asks, “Can we go out for supper tonight?” My response is “I can make that happen.” and bless her. The Visitation of 2003 left me praying earnestly “LET YOUR ARGENTINIAN REVIVAL MOVE NORTH – THE RESISTENCIA FOUNTAIN OPEN!” More and more every day this praying (intercession) overtook me and a group of believers. Prayer meetings and services were almost 100% attendance, we were all caught up …

Credit: Jelle Goossens/Flickr/Creative Commons

What does it mean to be a prayer warrior?

Español: ¿Qué significa ser un guerrero de oración? In the book of Colossians, the Apostle Paul talks about Epaphras a person who was now traveling with Paul. 12 Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured. 13 I vouch for him that he is working hard for you and for those at Laodicea and Hierapolis. (Colossians 4:12-13 NASV) In this verse, Paul describes Epaphras as being from the Colossae church and tells how Epaphras was “wrestling in prayer” for those in his home congregation. Other Bible versions translate it a bit differently, with some saying he was “laboring fervently” in prayer. The word translated “wrestling” by the NIV is the Greek word “agonizomai.” Thayers Greek Lexicon describes the word this way: “to enter a contest, contend in the light of gymnastic games. To contend with adversaries, fight.” The word “agonizomai” is derived from another Greek word “agone,” that …

Storm clouds over Corsica, France Credit: hippolyte/Flickr/Creative Commons

For such a time as this

Recently, world events overwhelmed me. I became weak,  unbelieving and fearful. It seemed that I lost hope and my  desire to move forward and attempt things for God. What can God accomplish and do in times such as these. Can I be used to bring healing and change to this world? During these tumultuous days, I am reminded of a request Mordecai made of Queen Esther concerning the fate of their nation in captivity in Persia: “For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your Father’s house will perish” (Esther 4:14a) We must not remain silent. Esther chose to use her voice and to speak into a dangerous situation facing her nation. God has a plan and during times of duress we need to listen to His voice. Mordecai continued to exhort Esther: “And who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14b) We are needed. Esther did not want to rock the …

Credit: Jonathan Chen/Flickr/Creative Commons

Intercessors: Engaging the enemy

I consider myself an intercessor and it has taken the full length and breadth of 30 years to understand what intercession is and who I am in this gifting and calling. Intercessors, in their various roles, stand in the gap for people in prayer and worship to enhance God’s presence, draw people in and bring them into a more intimate experience and connection with God. Not everyone is called to intercede in this way.  There are many roles that intercessors play and one person does not do it all. I am a dancer and along with other women, I dance in church during worship with ribbons, scarves and flags. As intercessors we need to be sensitive to shifts in the spiritual realm.  We often find ourselves pressing into these shifts to enhance the worship and/or step into warfare to exercise authority over the enemy and his strongholds. There are moments in worship on Sunday mornings when I grab a flag and begin to intercede with the flag during the height of worship. At other times, …

We need to have a prophetic element in our prayers. Photo: Matthew Green/Flickr/Creative Commons

Envisioning prayer

Last year, I was praying and seeking an answer and intervention for a particular situation that was very troubling to me. As I desperately sought the answer, I suddenly began to envision it happening right down to the exact details — what would it look like, sound like and feel like if it actually came to pass. After picturing the scenario in my mind’s eye, I spontaneously began to thank and praise God for the answer. My response surprised me. I realized because it had been so real in my mind as I prayed my spirit responded with thanksgiving and praise before I even knew what was happening. It was the same response that I would have felt seeing my prayer answered and fulfilled in the flesh. But in this instance it hadn’t happened yet. I believe this was a prophetic prayer. The incident reminded me of a verse: “Who gives life to the dead and speaks of the non-existent things that (He has foretold and promised) as if they (already) existed.”  (Romans 4:17 AMP) …

Characteristics of an intercessor: Will you riot in the streets?

[by Dean Smith] In an earlier post, I discussed Jesus’ parable on prayer. It involved a woman’s run-in with a corrupt judge (Luke 18:2-8).  It was an interesting passage as the Greek words portrayed intercession as little more than a street fight. As Jesus wraps up this teaching, He clearly wants to separate our Heavenly Father from the character of the Judge and says: “Now will not God bring about justice for His elect who cry [boao] to Him day and night, and will he delay long over them.” (v 7 NASV) Where the judge was selling justice to the highest bidder, God wants to bring justice to those who cry out for help. Where corrupt judges delay justice as a subtle hint money is needed to open doors, God wants to answer quickly.

Characteristics of an Intercessor: Are you a street fighter?

We all struggle for answered prayer. Sometimes we wonder if God even heard us. When we look at the Gospels, Jesus used a variety of parables to teach on prayer. One found in Luke 18:1-8 involves a widow who was taken advantage of by an unscrupulous person and went before a judge seeking legal help. We are told the judge did not fear God and did not respect man (v 2). It was a simple way of saying he was corrupt. Justice was for sale in this town. The widow apparently didn’t have the means to buy the justice she needed, so the judge put her off, but she kept coming back. Using this story, Jesus showed one of the keys to successful prayer is praying until you prevail. The widow came back again and again seeking help. The phrase “for a while” (v 4) that Jesus used to describe the length of her struggle implies a considerable period of time — days for certain, probably weeks. For the intercessor, the prayer battle may extend …

From 3 to 5 hours: Changing God’s mind through prayer

Several years back, my wife and I attended a camp meeting in the U.S. God was moving in the services through the Toronto revival and both of us were impacted by God’s Spirit. 

One night, I felt the Lord say He wanted me to stay in the tabernacle and pray for three hours after the service. The meetings were going late, so it would be about three in the morning before my head hit the pillow. My preference was to go to bed. But it seemed like God, so I decided to do it. Now to be honest, I was very legalistic about the time and I looked at my watch every 15 minutes or so to see how much time had passed. 

I was a true watchman. God was going to get three hours and not a minute more.

A key to successful prayer: Do you believe God loves you?

When the pharisees asked Jesus what the greatest commandment was, He replied: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself.” (Luke 10:27 NASV) Can anyone be commanded to love God or love anyone for that matter? Yet we are told this is the greatest commandment for a believer. How do we do it? The Apostle John provides the answer: “We love because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19 NASV) The key to being able to love God is first understanding and believing that God loves you and this is our “great” struggle to obeying the “greatest” commandment. A study by Baylor University, published in the journal Sociology of Religion, concluded that understanding God loves us is even an important key to successful prayer.

Praying two and a half weeks for a slurpee?

A few year’s back, my wife was talking to a woman who told of struggles with her oldest son. He was having problems at school and teachers were constantly asking his mother to come in to deal with behavioral issues. As they discussed what was happening, the woman shared that the boy was her only child from a previous marriage. Divorced, she had remarried and now she and her new husband had children of their own. However, the step-father was finding it difficult accepting the oldest son. He found it hard to praise him and easy to criticize. 
My wife heard the story, saw the need and decided to pray about it. For the next two and half weeks, this became the focus of her prayers.

Spiritual and now health benefits to fasting

Researchers from the Intermountain Heart Institute in Murray, Utah have concluded there are health benefits to fasting. In particular, they pointed to its benefits with those struggling with diabetes. The researchers said an occasional one-day, water-only fast, can help those in a pre-diabetic stage. This is the stage where people have high glucose or sugar levels, but not high enough to be considered diabetic. They stated by occasionally fasting a person can lower their glucose levels. It should not surprise us an important spiritual activity comes with a physical benefit.

Characteristics of an intercessor: Persistence more important than friendship

Why doesn’t God answer my prayer? This question plagues many Christians. We pray and not only are there no answers, we wonder if God even heard us. When we look at the Gospels, we read a number of parables Jesus used to teach on prayer. I want to specifically look at one of them and draw out a key principle to successful prayer. The account is found in Luke 11:5-13. This parable– following on the heels of Jesus’ teaching on the Lord’s prayer –is about a man who unexpectedly had visitors show up at his home late at night. Without food to offer them, the man pops next door to a friend’s place to borrow some bread.

Did God give a man a new heart, literally?

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:26 NASV) In the Old Testament, the prophet Ezekiel peering into the future saw a day when God would give people new spiritual hearts. This promise was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2, when God poured out His Holy Spirit on the early church. That move was accompanied by many miraculous healings. But for Jon Funderburg, this promise of a new heart took on a very literal meaning. On February 2, 2006, Jon, 32, went to his doctor in Hot Springs, Arkansas complaining of a flu. With his symptoms worsening and an added complaint of stomach pain, the doctor ordered tests.

Paga: The intercessor negotiates with God

I am writing a series of articles on the Hebrew word “paga” commonly translated intercessor or intercession in the Old Testament. It is an unusual word that has a wide-range of meanings and each describes a particular attribute of intercession. In my earlier article, I discussed how “paga” referred to claiming territory for the Kingdom of God. In this post, I want to discuss the word “paga” and its meaning of negotiating with God on behalf of others.

Paga: The intercessor claims territory for God

This article is part of a series I am doing on the Hebrew word ‘paga’ translated intercession in the Old Testament. The word has a broad range of meanings that offer unique perspectives on intercession. In my earlier article, I discussed how the word was used to describe the spiritual warfare associated with intercession. Another one of the unusual ways ‘paga’ is used in the Old Testament is in staking out and claiming territory. After Israel entered the Promised Land, God gave each tribe an inheritance of land. In Joshua 16:5-7, we have a record of the territory given the tribe of Ephraim described as “the border of their inheritance.” “It went down from Janoah to Ataroth and to Naarah, then reached (paga) Jericho and came out at the Jordan.” (v 7 NASV) The word ‘paga’ is used in this passage to mark the territory or boundaries of each tribe’s inheritance. In almost every instance “paga’ described the outward border (see also Joshua 17:10, 19:11, 22, 26-27 etc). Paga is translated in this context as …

Paga: The intercessor as a warrior

I have been doing a study on the Hebrew word ‘paga’ translated as intercessor or intercession in the Old Testament. This word has a large range of meanings and each of these help us better understand intercessory prayer. In my previous article, we saw ‘paga’ meant hitting the mark and discussed how God wants to guide the prayer of the intercessor. In this post, I want to look at a third usage of the word ‘paga’ — it means conflict or war. The word is used 15 times in the Old Testament to describe battle. In fact, it became synonymous for “falling upon” people or attacking them. (1 Samuel 22:17, Judges 8:21; Judges 15:12, 2 Samuel 1:15). 

Paga: Hitting the mark in intercession

In my previous article on the Hebrew word “paga,” translated intercession in the Old Testament, I discussed one of its primary meanings which is “making contact” with God. This is what differentiates prayer and intercession. While prayer is one way communication — us talking to God, in intercession we make contact with God which leads to Him communicating with us. In the Old Testament, “paga” has many usages which give us different understandings of intercession. In this article, I want to look at the unusual way the word is used in Job 36:32. Job is probably the oldest book in the Bible and would certainly offer one of the earliest meanings of the word. This passage also suffers a horrid chapter break, as the discussion continues into chapter 37: 32 “He covers His hands with the lightning, And commands it to strike (paga) the mark … 2 “Listen closely to the thunder of His voice, And the rumbling that goes out from His mouth. 3 “Under the whole heaven He lets it loose, And His lightning to the ends of the earth. 4 “After it, a …

Paga: The Intercessor

Prayer warriors have written many books on prayer, but this statement was not from any of these writers. It came from the driest of all — The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament . Yet, this quote from an article written by Dr. Victor Hamilton is extremely profound: “An intercessor is one who makes contact with God as opposed to many who simply dabble in prayer.” He made it while discussing the Hebrew word “paga” often translated “intercessor” or “intercession” in the Old Testament. I want to talk about intercession as defined by the word “paga.” It has a wide range of meanings and usages. Each of these shades serve up a fuller understanding of  the word.