Friday, June 10, 2005

Travailing Prayer

“We are a generation that avoids pain at all costs. This is why there are so few intercessors. Most Christians operate on the shallowest levels of prayer, but God wants to take us into the deep levels of intercessory prayer that only a few ever experience. Deep, prolonged intercession is painful. It involves staying before God when everyone else has gone away or sleeps (Luke 22:45). It involves experiencing brokenness with the Father over those who continually rebel against Him. How many of us will experience this kind of fervent intercession?” Henry Blackaby

Dear Intercessors,

God is training us for deeper levels of intercession. He wants to teach us to travail in prayer. Jesus understood travailing prayer while He was on earth. In Luke 22:44 we read, “And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground”. Imagine travail of that nature. Prayer can be a very joyful experience, but there are times when we wrestle and travail for God’s purposes to come to pass in people’s lives. There are times when the Holy Spirit burdens us over a situation, and we begin to travail in order to bring it to birth. These are prayers of a very deep and intensive nature. God is looking for people with whom He can share His heart. In the final hours of Jesus’ life, He wanted his disciples to understand the anguish of His heart. In the Garden of Gethsemane, His disciples could not fully grasp the urgency of the hour.

“Ultimately, Jesus prayed alone. He went farther than His disciples and prayed longer. At the greatest moment of intercession in human history, there was no one willing to go with Jesus and watch with Him. Throughout history God has looked for those willing to yield everything to Him and His desire to redeem the world. At times God has marveled that no one was willing to go with Him (Isaiah 63:5, 59:16). The prophets seemed to grasp more than the common people, for while society carried on as though nothing were wrong, the prophets agonized and wept over what they knew God was preparing to do.” Henry Blackaby

Today there are so many that are living at ease, not grasping the importance of the hour. God is raising up intercessors who will stand with Him in intercession and travail over mankind, because they know the significance of the days we are living in. You may be one God chooses to travail for nations or cities. You may be one God chooses to pray and travail for this generation of youth. You may travail over unsaved relatives or co-workers. God is bringing you deeper for a purpose. Intercessors are called to travail His purposes in order to bring them to birth.

Recently while talking with an intercessor that was struggling, I told her that God is taking intercessors deeper. He is preparing us for something significant. When you go deep with God, you have a lot more to give. Your prayers have a sound of urgency and authority. You pray from your heart because in the difficulty, you have received God’s heart. Often barrenness in some area will bring forth strong travailing tears. God is looking for those who will not fall asleep at this critical hour in human history, but who will travail and bring to birth God’s Kingdom purposes on earth. It is worth it to press in, travail, cry out, seek and passionately hunger after God. Travail brings forth birth. If God is taking you deeper, if you feel barren in some area of your life experience, rise up in thanksgiving and say "thank you" to God for the cross. You are in a position for God to bring something to birth through your travailing prayer. Travail is a cry of desperation.

“God’s first requirement in ministry is barrenness. God looks for people who are incapable of producing life on their own, those who have come to the end of their own striving and honestly admit their true condition. Most of us, not wanting to bear this reproach, go around feigning ‘life.’ Our activities become the substitute for the anointing. Programs replace productivity and prayer. Life seems to abound everywhere, until one looks below the surface and realizes it’s only a veneer - a form of godliness that lacks power. Why does God insist on barrenness as a prerequisite for blessing? Simply because no flesh can glory in it… God has to strip us first so that He alone is glorified.” David Ravenhill

What is travail?

”Travail is a form of intense intercession given by the Holy Spirit whereby an individual or group is gripped by something that grips God's heart. The individual or group labors with Him for an opening to be created so that the new life can come forth.”

Travail is hard work and can be compared to childbirth. If you talk to any mother, you know that there is intense pain and agony involved in childbirth. Travail happens after you have carried something in your heart for a period of time. It can be a burden, a promise, or a longing. God has put the burden in your heart. There comes a time to bring the burden to birth through prayer. God desires to bring forth life. He is the initiator. Through travail God creates an opening that was closed before. When we listen carefully as intercessors, we receive His heart, and we learn how to pray God's purposes in travailing prayer. The opening provides the way for the birthing of God’s purposes and plans.

We wrestle in prayer to see God’s plans birthed here on earth. We agonize to see God move in certain situations and to see the lost saved. This strenuous prayer calls for perseverance. Jacob wrestled all night in Genesis 32:24-26. He would not let go until God blessed him. Ephesians 6:11-12 says that we wrestle in prayer against the world rulers of darkness and the spiritual forces of wickedness in heavenly places. In one sense, we are in a wrestling match with the enemy, but we are the winners if we do not give up. Epaphras wrestled in prayer for the Colossian Church in Colossians 4:12-13. Jesus knew how to travail in prayer during His life on earth.

“During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered” (Hebrews 5:7-8).

Travailing Prayer Brings Forth Birth

We must passionately pray the promises that God has laid on our heart. We must pray until they come forth. We must travail and wrestle and cry out to God on our knees. Our faith then increases, and we endure in prayer until it happens, and it is birthed. Are you desperate enough to travail over the promises that God has given you? Are you willing to pay the price to bring them to birth? Don’t give up. There is too much at stake. Remember this always. Travailing prayer brings forth birth.

God has laid dreams, purposes and destiny on our hearts. He has a global plan, and we are all part of it. We may feel barren at the moment but deep in our heart the dream is there. We must travail in prayer until it is birthed. There is joy in the heart of a mother when her baby is finally born. Likewise, when something is finally birthed in the spiritual realm, there is tremendous joy! I encourage you to press into the purposes of God and travail in prayer until God’s plans are birthed. “May he give you the desires of your heart and make all your plans succeed. We will shout for joy when you are victorious and will lift up our banners in the name of our God. May the Lord grant all your requests” (Psalm 20:4-5). Your joy may be right around the corner.

“Wrestling in prayer enlists all the capacities of your soul, marshals your deepest holy desire, and by the grace of God uses all the perseverance of your holy determination. You push through a host of difficulties. You push back the heavy, threatening clouds of darkness. You reach beyond the visible and natural to the very throne of God. With all your strength and tenacity, you lay hold of God's grace and power as it becomes a passion of your soul.” Unnamed quotes by James Goll

Together in the Harvest,
Debbie Przybylski

Posted with permission.

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