Rev Dr Edgar Mayer; Living Grace Toowoomba Church; Message: Travailing Prayer; Date: 7 July 2013
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This morning, I would like to preach you into a new experience of God in prayer. As I proclaim to you what God wants to do – his truth – his way of operating in this world – I encourage you to respond with faith and receive what he will confirm to you.
Last Sunday, I already emphasized the importance of prayer. I shared how God gave Reinhard Bonnke a dream where he was the captain of a huge ship – (which represented his ministry organization) – and this ship got stuck and destroyed as it became wedged between the narrowing banks of a river. When Reinhard woke up, God explained to him that he needed more prayer – more prayer partners – by whose prayers the river banks would widen – one inch per person – so that his ministry – his expanding tent evangelism in Africa – could proceed.
Romans 15:30-32: I urge you, brothers and sisters, by our Lord Jesus Christ and by the love of the Spirit, to join me in my struggle by praying to God for me. Pray that I may be kept safe from the unbelievers in Judea and that the contribution I take to Jerusalem may be favourably received by the Lord’s people there, so that I may come to you with joy, by God’s will, and in your company be refreshed.
If you ever felt to become a more intentional prayer partner for a ministry – our ministry here at Living Grace (the Jesus Tent, the worship ministry, the prayer ministry, conference invitations, workplace evangelism, the raising of the next generation, etc) – how would you pray? The easiest way is to pray simply what is on your heart but it helps to know that there are two main praying actions: a) warfare and b) travail.
Suzette Hattingh: Discovering the Secret to a Successful Prayer Life, San Giovanni Teatino: Destiny Image Europe 2008, p20: 1. Warfare – facing Satan or the oppressive forces in the name of Jesus, on behalf of a person or a situation. This represents one edge of the sword. 2. Travail – facing the Father, on behalf of a person or situation, through weeping, prayer, and pleading for that person or situation. This represents the opposite edge of the sword.
I will not say much about this warfare aspect of praying except to mention it so that you will not be surprised when it is happening to you. As you pray, the demons (that your prayers are going to shift) can come against you in a way that generates oppression – agony as in the case of Jesus (see Luke 22:43-44: “... And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground”). An evangelist from India reflected on his many years of experience and wrote:
D.G.S. Dhinakaran: Gifts Of The Holy Spirit, South India: Word Of Christ, p268-269: Every time … meetings are arranged in prominent cities, we have to go through the same moments of agony as Jesus went through in the Garden of Gethsemane. In preparation for these meetings, we fast for many days, praying earnestly. Our gracious Lord will come down, and … impart to us … [what] we should preach. Then I will wait at the feet of our Lord for a new anointing [power], and grace to come down upon us and that particular city for demonstrating his power. This is the toughest time; I will shed tears of blood, undergoing the agony of Jesus, in the Garden of Gethsemane [cf. Luke 22:40-44]. An unbearable burden for the souls in that particular city will acutely surge into my heart.
At these times, in order to keep the people of that city under their continual bondage of sin, the evil spirits, ‘the prince of the power of the air’ (Ephesians 2:2) and the ‘the spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places’ (Ephesians 6:12) will appear before me; wrestling with them, I will pray on my knees, with great travail, sweating profusely. The great burden for the souls of the city will make me ‘labour in birth’, as mentioned … in Galatians 4:19. All of a sudden, our gracious Lord Jesus will appear, and at his sight, the evil spirits would bow down and disappear. Every dark cloud would vanish. My heart would become light again. Then the promise of Jesus will ring out: ‘That place has been given in your hands.’ At that time, a divine anointing will descend on me. I will be filled to overflowing, with an unparalleled faith that all the souls in that place belong to Jesus and not the devil. Only this unwavering faith will give me the authority to preach the Gospel in that place uncompromisingly and rebuke the powers of darkness that have kept the people bound in their bondage …
This pastor experienced warfare in his prayer time when the evil spirits of a particular city would pay him a visit and he was resisting them in prayer. However, he also experienced travail – weeping and pleading with God, labouring under an unbearable burden for the souls of the people – and this is what God wants to increase among us because God works by prayer.
Kenneth Hagin: The Art of Intercession, Tulsa: Faith Library Publications 1980, p29: A young wife and mother of three who attended his church regularly had to have open heart surgery. She died on the operating table. After some time she was resuscitated, but she did not regain consciousness.
The doctors said she would never regain consciousness – and that this was just as well, for her mind would never be right; she had been without oxygen to her brain for too long.
This pastor told me, “We comforted the young husband and prayed with him all we could – but we were so new in this ... Yet the woman persisted in living.
The third night I woke up and suddenly realized my wife wasn’t in bed. After a little while I got up to look for her. I heard groaning from the living room. I thought, She got up and fell and hurt herself. I found her lying flat on the living room floor groaning.”
He got down beside her and said, “Honey, what’s the matter?” She said, “I don’t know. I don’t understand it, but I just can’t let her die. I just can’t do it.”
For three nights, every night, she lay on the floor and groaned and prayed out loud all night long.
The next day, suddenly, that young woman in the hospital came to herself. The doctors were amazed. Her mind was clear. She was perfectly all right. She was restored to her husband and children.
What happened here? The groaning wife did not understand what she was doing and the husband – hearing the groans – expected her to be injured. What was happening to that woman? For the first time in her life, God – by the Holy Spirit – moved her into something new and she began travailing in prayer – labouring under a burden to pray for the unconscious wife and mother in hospital – until the young woman was completely healed.
The same can happen to you. All of a sudden, you experience a change in your emotions – a burden comes upon you – there is groaning and agony – you are feeling desperate and compelled to pray – until it is done. When the burden lifts, you know that you have prayed the burden through to victory. It may take a while before the answer to the prayer(s) – the victory – is manifesting in human life but the outcome has already been achieved in the spiritual world.
Here are some Bible passages:
Colossians 4:12: Epaphras, who is one of you and a servant of Christ Jesus, sends greetings. He is always wrestling [labouring fervently / agonizing] in prayer for you, that you may stand firm in all the will of God, mature and fully assured.
Galatians 4:19: My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you.
Romans 8:26: And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. For example, we don’t know what God wants us to pray for. But the Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words.
This makes prayer exciting. God takes the lead and guides you by placing prayer burdens upon you which you then pray through. Sometimes the burden can be an “impulse burden” – an emergency call of the Holy Spirit – where your prayer is required right then and there. At other times, the burden is a “long-term burden” for which we pray constantly (e.g.: Toowoomba). Suzette Hattingh writes: “A burden is receiving the concern of the Lord, whereas travail is the action of bringing that burden to birth and is characterized by weeping, groaning, and pleading” (Suzette Hattingh: Discovering the Secret to a Successful Prayer Life, San Giovanni Teatino: Destiny Image Europe 2008, p104).
This kind of praying is rather emotional but why is this so? What do we actually feel when the burden of prayer comes upon us and we begin travailing? Quite simply, in this kind of prayer – experiencing a prayer burden – we are “feeling that which God himself is feeling” (Suzette Hattingh). God cares and he makes us care so that we cannot help ourselves but pray. How wonderful is God and how meaningful are emotions – the warmness of tears (not detached logic)?
Suzette Hattingh: Discovering the Secret to a Successful Prayer Life, San Giovanni Teatino: Destiny Image Europe 2008, p107: I happened to be severely criticized by a pastor who worked in the group where I ministered at that time. For four years, this man made my life impossible. He even vowed that he would not rest until I was off the team; needless to say, this caused severe tension within the team and especially for me. I fasted, prayed, forgave, rebuked. I did everything I knew, and yet my heart was not free, until one day, I realized that my constant complaining about him was simply joining “the accuser of the brethren” (see Revelation 12:10). God knew about him already, and my complaints did not change anything. Then I prayed, “Lord, show me the way that you see him.” The deepest travail suddenly came upon me. I wept for his ministry, his family, his call in God; tremendous compassion went through me. Once it lifted, I said, “Lord, is that how you feel about him?” Of course, it was how God felt about him, and it was a lesson that I have never forgotten. Soon the breakthrough came. God moved him on to different mission fields, and we became good working colleagues.
God has deep compassion for everyone – he has grace (the deep riches of God / inexhaustible love) – and – as his people – we cannot pray from any other place but his compassion to be effective. Let’s see people – let’s see one another – as he sees them and the weeping will begin.
[See also Matthew 9:35-36: “Jesus went … preaching the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them …” / Matthew 14:14: “When Jesus … saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.” / Matthew 20:34: “Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. Immediately they received their sight and followed him.”]
We begin to feel what God himself is feeling. There is deep compassion – we enter into his love – but this alone does not yet explain everything about the tears that we cry. We feel what God is feeling but God is actually feeling what other people are feeling – the lost and hurting ones for whom we pray. God has empathy which he then shares with us.
In fact, empathy does not yet describe adequately (at all) the level of God’s compassion for us. God wanted to do more than commiserating with us. He identified with us to such an extent that shared feelings were not enough. He sent Jesus Christ – his Son – to take our place of suffering – literally – and this happened on the cross – which turned out to be the most powerful place of prayer.
At the heart of everything is that God identified with us. Jesus Christ – the Son of God – became us on the cross of his death because the burden on him at that time was our sin for which he suffered:
Norman Grubb: Rees Howells Intercessor, Cambridge: Lutterworth Press 1995, p87: The identification of the intercessor with the ones for whom he intercedes is perfectly seen in the Saviour. Of Him it was said that He poured out His soul unto death; and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. [Isaiah 53:12: “Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.” / Luke 23:34: “...Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing ...”] As the Divine Intercessor, interceding for a lost world, He drained the cup of our lost condition to its last drop. He “tasted death for every man”. [Hebrews 2:9: “...he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.”] To do that, in the fullest possible sense, He sat where we sit. By taking our nature upon Himself, by learning obedience through the things which He suffered, by being tempted in all points like as we are, by becoming poor for our sakes, and finally by being made sin for us, He gained the position in which, with the fullest authority as the Captain of our salvation made perfect through sufferings, and the fullest understanding of all we go through He can ever live to make intercession for us, and by effective pleadings with the Father “is able to save to the uttermost them that come unto God by Him”. Identification is thus the first law of the intercessor. He pleads effectively because he gives his life for those he pleads for; he is their genuine representative; he has submerged his self-interest in their needs and sufferings, and as far as possible has literally taken their place.
The principle may already be at work in Jesus’ baptism. He had no need for John’s baptism for the forgiveness of sins because he was without sin but as he identified with us – as he shared with us our baptism of repentance – he entered the place where God would answer his prayers and pour power upon him to achieve the outcome of his identification – Luke 3:21-22: When all the people were being baptized, Jesus was baptized too. And as he was praying, heaven was opened and the Holy Spirit descended on him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”
If you want God to use you and place a prayer burden upon you, be ready to identify with those that you pray for:
Nehemiah 1:3-11: They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. Then I said: “Lord, the God of heaven, ... let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
Ezekiel 4:4-6: Then lie on your left side and put the sin of the people of Israel upon yourself. You are to bear their sin for the number of days you lie on your side. I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin. So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.
After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year.
Exodus 32:9-11: “I have seen these people,” the Lord said to Moses, “and they are a stiff-necked people. Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them and that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation.” But Moses sought the favour of the Lord his God... / Exodus 32:31-32: So Moses went back to the Lord and said, “Oh, what a great sin these people have committed! They have made themselves gods of gold. But now, please forgive their sin—but if not, then blot me out of the book you have written.”
Romans 9:1-3: I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit – I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race.
Norman Grubb: Rees Howells Intercessor, Cambridge: Lutterworth Press 1995, p60-62: The very day of this new commission they saw a tramp in their meeting for the first time. He had been on the road for months, without work or lodgings, and had heard the singing in the mission. He was overcome with the reception he was given. One of the believers provided him with lodgings and found him work. In two days another came. “News of charity is like wireless,” Mr. Howells said, “carried far and wide in no time, and a greater number came than we had bargained for. We were not allowed to stop them; if they came of their own accord, we did not dare to turn them away. I didn’t call them tramps—I preferred the name the Saviour used and called them prodigals—and I learned, according to 1 John 4:20, that you don’t love the Saviour one bit more than you love the least one He died for.”
In all this the Spirit was leading His servant more and more into the secret of intercession—the identification of the intercessor with the ones for whom he prays. He had called him to associate with Will Battery, which had touched his pride. He had made him responsible for the debts of Jim Stakes, which had touched his pocket. Now He called him to share in the physical sufferings of the destitute, which would touch his body. He was to learn a little how to feel as they felt and sit where they sat. Tramps did not have the plentiful food that other people have, and God called him to come down to their level. The Government lodging houses provided two meals a day for tramps, and the Lord told Rees Howells to live in the same way, on two meals of bread and cheese and soup. The midday fasts had been a preparation for this.
The difficulty was, naturally, in his own home where his mother was most unwilling to let him live like that, while doing the heavy work of a miner. However, he insisted, backing his arguments by reference to the four young men in Babylon who, after their days of abstinence, looked “fairer and fatter” than the rest. His mother had to consent, although the story goes that with motherly ingenuity she put all the nourishment she could into the evening soup!
He had one meal at 6:30 in the morning and the other at 5:30 in the evening, after his day’s work in the pit, and before he started for the village. It was a battle at first, both physically and mentally, eating at the same table with others, and having different food. “There was great suspicion about where this new thing would end,” he said, “and what my object was in doing it. Neither they nor myself had ever seen a man called to fasting, and they thought ‘the experiment’ would soon come to an end. But in less than a fortnight the Lord had so changed my appetites that I preferred those two meals a day to the four I used to have. That craving for food was taken out of me, and through the whole period my health was better than anyone else's. I never had a shade of headache, and my body was fit as could be.” He lived like that for two and a half years.
The principle of identification is also at work when people receive “words of knowledge” for healing and the pain of the sick person manifests in their own body which tells them what the Holy Spirit wants to heal.
Kenneth Hagin: The Art of Intercession, Tulsa: Faith Library Publications 1980, p53-56: It happened the first Friday night of December 1953 in Phoenix, Arizona, where I was conducting a meeting.
During the meeting I stayed in the home of one of the families in the church. After the Friday night service they invited their three married daughters and their husbands to come to the home for refreshments and a time of visiting.
We men were seated in the living room talking. The women were in the kitchen preparing to serve the food.
Suddenly, I had an urge to pray. Now, don’t misunderstand me; nobody made me do it, but there was a burden about it. An urge to pray just seemed to fall upon me.
I knew these folks would understand such a thing. (If they would not have, I would have excused myself and gone to the privacy of my bedroom to pray.) So I said to our host, “I’ve got to pray, and I have to pray now.”
Brother F. called the ladies from the kitchen, “Just forget about the food. Brother Hagin’s got a burden to pray. Let’s all just join him.”
I knelt beside a large chair in the living room. The moment my knees touched the floor I was in the Spirit. I lifted my voice, praying in other tongues and groanings. It seemed like down deep within me I was hurting so badly I was about to deliver a baby. In travail there’s pain — there are groanings.
I knew I was interceding. When that spirit of intercession for the lost is upon you, you’ll feel within your own being that you are lost. You know you are not. You know you are a child of God. But you take upon yourself the condition the other person is in. That person is lost. So you feel lost.
I’ve had people come to me many times saying something like this, “Brother Hagin, I know I’m saved and filled with the Holy Spirit, but sometimes in the service when God begins to move, I start to feel on the inside just like I’m lost myself. When the altar call is given, I wonder if I should go to the altar myself. I wonder if perhaps I’m not right with God.”
“That’s intercession,” I explain to them. “That’s the Spirit of God trying to roll the burden of some lost soul off on someone. He was searching through the congregation to find someone He could use. When that happens again, if you can’t contain yourself, and the service is still going on, get up and go to a place of prayer. Otherwise, sit there quietly and groan within yourself, until the person you are interceding for responds to the call of God.”
There is something out here in this area that we need to learn again. The art of intercession is a lost art among us. We’ll never really have the depth of the move of the Spirit of God until we have that kind of intercession.
I prayed that Friday night in Phoenix with groanings, and tears, and other tongues for about an hour. I knew I was interceding for someone who was lost. And I knew to keep at it until I had a note of victory.
(A note of victory — that is when the burden lifts, and you feel light, wonderful, and blessed. Or, when you begin to sing in other tongues. Or, when you begin to laugh instead of groan. In other words, you have whatever it is you are praying about.)
Once in a great while, the Lord will let me know what or whom I am praying about. That Friday night, He let me know. He gave me a vision.
I saw the church where I was holding a meeting full of people. I saw myself at the pulpit preaching. I heard myself preach a sermon I’d never preached before. I heard myself give four points to this sermon. (I got a brand new sermon which I preached the following Sunday night.) I saw myself finish the sermon, then lean over the pulpit and point to a man sitting the second seat from the front.
I heard myself say as I pointed to him, “Friend, God shows me you are past 70 years and that you’ve been brought up to believe that there is no hell. But He told me to tell you that you have one foot in hell right now, and the other one is slipping in.” I saw that man leave the pew, come and kneel at the altar, and be saved.
I knew I was making intercession for him. I knew I was travailing in prayer for him.
The folks present knew I’d seen something. So they asked me. I told them. I described the man to them. I described how he was dressed. The following Sunday night everything came to pass exactly as I had seen it on the preceding Friday.
Those people who had prayed with me told me after the service, “Brother Hagin, we had that fellow located before you ever got to the service. He was sitting where you said he’d be sitting. He was dressed just the way you saw him. We’d never seen him before.” Nobody in that church had ever seen him. So they wouldn’t have known to pray. But the Holy Spirit knew.
The man was saved along with others. After the service he came to hug the pastor and me.
He said to the pastor, “This preacher here said I was past 70. I’m 72. This is the first time I’ve ever been inside a church building. The preacher said I was raised to believe there is no hell. My parents were Universalists. They taught me that there is no hell.
This preacher told me that God told him to tell me I had one foot in hell and the other was slipping. I know exactly what He meant. That’s one reason why I came to Phoenix. I’m from up north where it’s cold. But I had a severe heart attack and my doctor thought it would help my health to come here.”
Somebody said, “He got saved Sunday night.” But it really happened on Friday night when I was travailing in birth.
Accepting a prayer burden from God and then travailing is a great privilege and promises powerful outcomes. We want this in our midst but I want to add a few words of practical wisdom which will make this ministry helpful – not upsetting for anyone:
“You don’t have to be weird to be spiritual.” / Suzette Hattingh: Discovering the Secret to a Successful Prayer Life, San Giovanni Teatino: Destiny Image Europe 2008, p110: Intercessors do not draw attention to themselves. They use wisdom as to where and when to travail. During the preaching of the Word of God is not the time to howl and weep in travail. Wisdom dictates the time and place for such actions.
However, practically, what are you to do if, during a meeting, travail comes upon you strongly? Simply leave the meeting, go outside, sit in the car, or on a bench, and pray. There, no one else in that meeting will be disturbed and your travail can be continued between God and yourself. Once the burden has lifted, you can return to the meeting without anyone else being the wiser for your absence.
Many times, when there was no other place of privacy, I simply went to the ladies’ room, closed the door, and prayed. The people outside had no idea of what was happening, but the spirit world certainly took note.
Travail prayers do not have to be loud or excessive. “It is not by might, not by power, but by My Spirit,” says the Lord of hosts.
An intercessor does not have a “higher spirituality” than the rest of the Body of Christ, if he or she travails.
As we grow in this ministry, we can also be sensitive to the prayer burden lifting before the prayer outcome has been achieved. People have the freedom to oppose the saving will of God:
Charles Finney – The Autobiography of Charles Finney: Soon after I was converted, the man with whom I had been boarding, a magistrate, and one of the principal men in the place, was deeply convicted of sin. He had been elected a member of the legislature of the state. I was praying daily for him, and urging him to give his heart to God. His conviction became very deep; but still, from day to day, he deferred submission, and did not obtain a hope. My solicitude for him increased.
One afternoon several of his political friends had a protracted interview with him. On the evening of the same day I attempted again to carry his case to God. I do not remember ever to have been in more intimate communion with the Lord Jesus than I was at that time. I was bathed in tears of joy, and gratitude, and love; and in this state of mind I attempted to pray for this friend. But the moment I did so, my mouth was shut. The Lord seemed to say to me, “No; I will not hear.” An anguish seized upon me; I thought at first it was a temptation.
The next morning I saw him; and as soon as I brought up the question of submission to God, he said to me, “Mr. Finney, I shall have nothing more to do with it until I return from the legislature. I stand committed to my political friends to carry out certain measures in the legislature that are incompatible with my first becoming a Christian; and I have promised that I will not attend to the subject until after I have returned from Albany.”
From the moment of that exercise the evening before, I had no spirit of prayer for him at all. As soon as he told me what he had done, I understood it. I could see that his convictions were all gone, and that the Spirit of God had left him.
When the time arrived he went to the legislature; and in the spring he returned an almost insane Universalist. I say almost insane, because, instead of having formed his opinions from any evidence or course of argument, he said, “I have come to that conclusion, not because I have found it taught in the Bible, but because such a doctrine is so opposed to the carnal mind. It is a doctrine so generally rejected and spoken against, as to prove that it is distasteful to the carnal, unconverted mind.” This was astonishing. But everything else that I could get out of him was as wild and absurd as this. He remained in his sins, finally fell into decay, and died at last, as I have been told, a dilapidated man, and in the full faith of his Universalism.
Kenneth Hagin: The Art of Intercession, Tulsa: Faith Library Publications 1980, p30-31: Thirty years ago I went to a man’s bedside to pray for his healing. And I couldn’t even say the word “heal”. I’d say, “Oh God,” and then instead of saying the word “heal,” I’d say, “bless this man”. I tried to make my tongue say “heal” and it would not. I couldn’t control my tongue.
I said, “Lord, why can’t I pray for this man’s healing? He’s not old enough to die. You promised us a minimum of 70 or 80 years.”
(In Psalm 91, he actually said, “with long life will I satisfy you”. If we are not satisfied at the end of 70 or 80 years, we can go on until we are satisfied.)
But the Lord said to me, “Yes, but he was born again 36 years ago. I’ve been waiting on him to put away sin for 36 years. (Think about the patience of God.) He’s never lived right over two weeks at a time in 36 years. So I judged him and turned him over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”
(That’s in the Bible. Read the fifth chapter of First Corinthians and the last part of the eleventh chapter.)
Then the Spirit said to me, “You can’t pray for his healing, but you can do this. Tell him you are going to lay your hands on him to be filled with the Holy Spirit and his last days will be better than his first.”
I told him what the Lord said. When I laid my hand on his forehead, instantly, he started speaking with tongues.
I left and went my way. When I came back over a month later, he was dead and buried. But they told me he sat up in bed and sang and talked in tongues three days and nights. Then he had a glorious homecoming.
That wasn’t God’s perfect will for him. But it certainly beat going to hell. I went off down the highway in my car, crying and singing, “Grace, grace, God’s grace. Grace that is greater than all of our sins.”
Sometimes I have tried to make intercession for people, and it would seem like I ran up against a blank wall, or down a blind alley. I just didn’t get anywhere because the Spirit of God didn’t take hold with me.
When we accept a prayer burden, travail and then birth the breakthrough, we increase in authority. We attain authority – permission to operate on a certain level – which is more permanent and goes beyond receiving gifts by faith.
Norman Grubb: Rees Howells Intercessor, Cambridge: Lutterworth Press 1995, p89-91: But intercession is more than the Spirit sharing His groanings with us and living His life of sacrifice for the world through us. It is the Spirit gaining His ends of abundant grace. If the intercessor knows identification and agony, he also knows authority. It is the law of the corn of wheat and the harvest: “If it die, it bringeth forth much fruit.”
Intercession is not substitution for sin. There has only ever been one substitute for a world of sinners, Jesus the Son of God. But intercession so identifies the intercessor with the sufferer that it gives him a prevailing place with God. He moves God. He even causes Him to change His mind. He gains his objective, or rather the Spirit gains it through him. Thus Moses, by intercession, became the saviour of Israel and prevented their destruction; and we can have little doubt that Paul’s supreme act of intercession for God’s chosen people resulted in the great revelation given him at that time of worldwide evangelization and the final salvation of Israel (Romans 10 and 11), and is enabling God to bring it about.
Mr. Howells would often speak of “the gained position of intercession,” and the truth of it is obvious on many occasions in his life. It is a fact of experience. The price is paid, the obedience is fulfilled, the inner wrestlings and groanings take their full course, and then “the word of the Lord comes.” The weak channel is clothed with authority by the Holy Ghost and can speak the word of deliverance. “Greater works” are done. Not only this, but a new position in grace is gained and maintained, although even then that grace can only be appropriated and applied in each instance under the guidance of the Spirit.
Mr. Howells used to speak of it, in Mr. Muller’s phrases, as entering “the grace of faith,” in contrast to receiving “the gifts of faith.” What he meant was that, when we pray in a normal way, we may hope that God of His goodness will give us the thing. If He does, we rejoice; it is His gift to us; but we have no power or authority to say that we can always get that same answer at any time. Such are the gifts of faith. But when an intercessor has gained the place of intercession in a certain realm, then he has entered into “the grace of faith”; along that special line the measureless sea of God’s grace is open to him. That is the gained place of intercession.
Mr. Howells referred to George Muller’s experience. Mr. Muller had never gained a place of intercession over sickness, but on one occasion God raised up a sick person for whom he had prayed. On another occasion he prayed for another sick person, but there was no healing. Mr. Muller, however, said that this was not a failure in prayer because he had never gained a place of intercession over sickness, and therefore the answer to the first prayer was merely “a gift of faith,” which would not necessarily be repeated. On the other hand, he had gained a place of intercession for the orphans. He was always ready to be the first sufferer on their behalf; if there was enough food for all except one, he would be the one to go without; and in this realm of supply, God held him responsible to see that the needs were always met, for the doors of God’s Treasury had been permanently opened to him, and he could take as much as he needed.
Pastor Blumhardt of Germany, on the other hand, was a man who had gained a place of intercession for the sick. In his first struggles with evil spirits it took him more than eighteen months of prayer and fasting before he gained the final victory. Complaints were lodged against him of neglecting his work as a minister and devoting himself to the healing of the sick, but he said the Lord had given the parable of the friend at midnight and the three loaves and, though unworthy, he was going on knocking.
Pastor Blumhardt prayed through, and God did open. Not only were hundreds blessed, but he raised a standard for the church. After the final victory he gained such ease of access to the Throne that often, when letters came asking for prayer for sick people, after just looking up for a single moment he could find God’s will as to whether they were to be healed or not. The sufferings of others became so painful to him that he was pleading for them as if for himself. That was intercession!
Todd Bentley – Dynamis Power: There is a place where it is important to bring the people of God into faith and teach what the Bible says about healing, about divine healing and the promise of God. To teach them the principles of healing, to teach them the things that can hinder God’s healing power. We need that. We need the prayer of faith. We need to anoint with oil. But more than that what we need is what God wants to bring the body of Christ into, is unprecedented power. It’s dunamis power. It's more of relying on the anointing and the spirit of counsel to bring forth miracles. And that's what I want to talk about.
Guillermo Maldonado: The Glory of God, New Kensington: Whitaker House 2012, p68-71: ... understanding the interrelationship between three dimensions of the supernatural: (1) faith, (2) anointing, and (3) glory ... There is a difference between believing for something with the measure of faith that God has given us, and God exercising his own faith. The realm of “glory” is the latter – God Himself in faith and action – what he believes and does on his own, compared to what we believe based on our faith and what we are able to do based on our anointing ...
... just as each believer has been given a measure of faith, he or she has been given a measure of anointing, or a particular gift or gifts to fulfil God’s purposes ... Having the anointing is not the same thing as moving in the glory, which includes all of God’s attributes. The anointing is a part of God, operating through us ...
We can operate in the gifts of the Holy Spirit by faith and the anointing if we know how the principles that activate them operate. However, the glory of God is different ... The manifest presence operates according to God’s sovereignty ...
Where (do you think) have we received authority – carried a burden and broken through to a new level of authority in God? [You may consider the prayer burden for Greg Storey, Trevor Turner and the abiding miracle of “gold dust”.] What else do we want? What is on your heart?
This morning, are you ready? Do you want to feel what God feels who identifies with hurting and lost people? Do you want – by the Spirit of God – to weep over them, travail and groan until you have won victory for them? Do you want to break through into new realms of authority? What God gives is a burden but a burden with a promise. The burden will lift and we see victory – healings and salvations. This morning, give yourself to prayer. Amen.