By Chuck Pierce : Mar 15, 2007
We Have Entered a Season of Travail
When the Lord told me that we would be entering into 10 Days of Travail, I had no idea that Brian and Lori Kooiman, who work with me, would be having their third child on this day. Lori just delivered a healthy 8 lb., 14 oz. boy, Benjamin. Psalm 127:3 tells us that children are a heritage from the Lord, and the fruit of the womb is a reward. In verse 5, the Psalm goes on to say, "Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate." Many of the excerpts in this newsletter were taken from the books Prayers that Outwit the Enemy and Possessing the Gates of the Enemy.
When it comes to bearing children, it's an interesting fact that there is a desperate, agonizing pain of the soul that comes with barrenness. Equally true, however, is that there is a desperate, travailing pain of the body that comes with giving birth. My wife, Pam, and I understand the agony of barrenness as it was ten years before we were able to have children. There were times of desperation in those years and times we agonized before the Lord. But God heard the desperate cries of our heart for children and brought a miraculous healing to Pam's body that allowed her to conceive. Since that time, she has become familiar with the travailing pain of birth, having given birth to six children.
Because what we experience in the natural often mirrors that which we experience in the spiritual, we can see there are times when agony and travail are appropriate precursors and responses to spiritual birth, just as they are to natural birth. We agonize when something God intends to be has not yet manifested, and we travail as we birth God's new thing into the earth.
When the Lord first spoke this season of travail to me, I was very unclear as to what He was saying. Travail connotes that we are at a narrow transition. This transitional place is a life and death intersection. The transitional place is a place of "crossing over." You can read about that in the book Possessing Your Inheritance. I believe we have entered a "Season of Travail." Travail means that we are in a "distressed" moment.
I do believe that during this month, there are ten days specifically that the Lord will burden us for our future. Some of you are already feeling that distress. This travail season could take us through July. I sense that we are to pray specifically about Israel during March and watch carefully until June.
Apostle Barbara Yoder, a dear friend and wonderful leader, defines TRAVAIL: Travail is a specific type of prayer which births (Isaiah 66:7-9), as well as wars (Isaiah 42:12-14). When a person enters a time period or season of travail (birthing and/or warring), they will experience it as a heaviness, a weight, a burden, a deep penetrating concern, or an uneasiness over a situation or condition that they cannot shake. Sometimes, travail extends to weeks or months, particularly when God burdens a person over a nation.
Travail is defined as birthing, delivering; to be disgusted, faint, grieved or weary, distressed, troubled. The old Latin word was used as an instrument of torture composed of three stakes a person was tied to. To travail is to be troubled, sorrowful, in agony, intense pain or distress. In other words, it is not a comfortable experience. Often time, a person will initially interpret travail emotionally and become introspective, suspecting something is wrong with them. However, it is not an emotion, it is the burden of the Lord, and the voice of the Lord coming to a person as a burden to draw them into partnering with Him to birth and/or to war.
The only way travail will be released is through prayer. The person will feel weighted down by a situation until it is released through sustained prayer. It is during travail that people often experience a "Romans 8:22-26 time, "For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now." The Holy Spirit within the person knows how to pray under this type of burden. As the person begins to pray, the Holy Spirit takes over and begins to travail within and through them with groanings that cannot be expressed in English words.
Isaiah 42:13 says that God Himself, "will go forth as a Mighty Man, He will cry, 'yes,' He will shout aloud, He will do mightily against His enemies." Verse 14 continues, "Thus says the Lord, 'I have for a long time held My peace, I have restrained Myself, now I will cry out like a woman in travail...'"
What Should We Do Now?
Here are some keys that will help you to be victorious in this season:
1. Set aside TEN days of sanctification. Sanctification means to "set yourself apart, so you are ready to move forward in God's purpose." Sanctification is a time of removal of impurities. Pray and fast for three days as the Lord leads you. Ask God for FAVOR.
2. Select seven days for a Jericho confrontation. This is the year of "7's." Watch your mouth for seven days. The Israelites had to circle for seven days without talking. Let the Lord develop a new sound of victory over the blockade that has seemed invincible in your life.
3. Be like Mordecai and listen at your gates! The gates of your life are the most trafficked and influenced places.
4. Pray for divine recovery. Make a list of the losses that have affected you most. Decree a new multiplication factor of increase.
5. Overcome distress and ANXIETY. Define what is creating anxiety in you. Praise to prevent anxiety every time you have an anxious thought.
6. Receive an ANOINTING! Pray Psalm 92 and anoint yourself. The anointing breaks the yoke.
7. Be like Hannah! Do not let those who mock you keep you from pressing through into new dimensions. Travail past your reproach.
Hannah's Agony: Agonizing Produces Change!
One of the most poignant Biblical accounts of agonizing before God is the story of Hannah. As the story opens, we see that Israel was in its lowest moral condition as a nation. The priesthood had fallen into total disarray. However, individuals kept coming to Shiloh to offer sacrifices and worship to the Lord. As required by the Law, Elkanah took his entire family to Shiloh to offer sacrifices.
Hannah, one of Elkanah's two wives, was barren and unfulfilled. She was a desperate woman because she knew that the destiny of her creation had not been fulfilled. This lack of fulfillment had led her into grief and affliction of spirit, which the Bible calls "bitterness of soul." In 1 Samuel 1:10-18, we see how Hannah agonized before the Lord to give her a child. Her agonizing gives us a great pattern to follow:
1. Pray to the Lord. 2. Weep in anguish (agonized). 3. Lift your affliction to the Lord. 4. Cry out: "Remember why I was created!" 5. Plead, "Fulfill my request, and You can have my firstfruit offering." 6. Go to the highest level authority in your life that can pray for you (she told the priest her problem and expressed her emotion). 7. Ask for favor to come upon you. 8. Press through and get up in victory. 9. Birth the new thing in your life (and perhaps, your nation). 10. Watch change take place.
Through her prayer of agony to the Lord, Hannah conceived and gave birth to Samuel. She then fulfilled her vow to the Lord by giving this child to the priest. This act changed the course of Israel. Samuel began to prophesy and the nation began to shift, although not everything went well. As the story progresses, we see that Israel was defeated in war and, as a result, lost the Ark of the Covenant, which represented God's presence among them. This defeat, however, set the nation of Israel on course to restore the presence of God in the land, which David did when he returned the Ark to its resting place in Jerusalem many years later.
Travailing Produces Birth
"Be in pain, and labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in birth pangs. For now you shall go forth from the city, you shall dwell in the field, and to Babylon you shall go. There you shall be delivered; there the LORD will redeem you from the hand of your enemies" (Micah 4:10).
Travailing is a painfully difficult or burdensome work, particularly the anguish or suffering associated with the labor of childbirth. You may be wondering, what does that have to do with prayer? If we stop to consider the story of Hannah, we realize that when she approached the Lord, she was in anguish over her circumstances. Her plea to God came from the very depths of her being. Her agony before the Lord did not come purely from the emotion of an unmet need or desire in her life.
It rose up out of her spirit because, as we mentioned before, the destiny for which she had been created had gone unfulfilled. At that time, she did not know in the natural that she had been chosen to give birth to Samuel, a great prophet and a judge of Israel. But somewhere in her spirit, she knew that she could not settle for barrenness. She knew that was not God's portion for her in life.
Before Hannah gave physical birth to Samuel, she travailed for, and birthed something spiritually that overcame the curse of barrenness, not only in her own body, but ultimately for the nation of Israel through Samuel. When we travail in prayer, what we are doing is allowing the Holy Spirit to birth something through us.
In the nineteenth century, when Charles Finney was pondering travailing prayer, he wrote, "Why does God require such prayer--such strong desires, such agonizing supplications? These strong desires mirror the strength of God's feelings. They are God's real feeling for unrepentant sinners. How strong God's desire must be for His Spirit to produce in Christians such travail--God has chosen the word to describe it--it is travail, torment of the soul." (Charles G. Finney, Lectures on Revival (Minneapolis, MN: Bethany, 1988), p. 46.)
In her book Possessing the Gates of the Enemy, Cindy Jacobs says, "There are times when we are called by God to pray strong prayers and help to birth the will of God into an area. Usually there is a sense of wonder after the prayer, and a sense that God has done something through it.
Here are four points to help you recognize the work of the Holy Spirit:
1. Travail is given by God and is not something we can make happen. Travail is often a deep groaning inside, which may be audible or which cannot be uttered, as described in Romans 8:26.
2. Travail sometimes comes as a result of praying in an area that others have prayed about before you. God then chooses you to be one of the last pray-ers before the matter is accomplished. You are the one who gives birth to the answer.
3. Those with the gift of intercession will often pray more travailing prayers than those without the gift.
4. The travail may be short or extended. Some prayers will be accomplished quickly and some will be like labor pangs at different times until the birth of the answer comes." (Cindy Jacobs, Possessing the Gates of the Enemy, (Tarrytown, NY: Chosen Books, 1991), pp. 115-116.)
How Does Travailing Prayer Work?
There is a tremendous power in travailing prayer because, as Cindy noted, it births the will of God into the earth. This type of prayer always outwits the devil because he is so strongly opposed by the new thing God is producing as a result of travail. We, therefore, need to have an understanding of what God is wanting to birth through us. We, like Hannah, need to be in-tune with what God is ready to bring forth in that given hour. That can only be done through intimacy with God and through a willingness to allow Him to use us in travail.
Many times, we have much that God has put in our spirits, but we don't have the strength to bring it to birth. Isaiah 60:1 says, "Arise, shine for your light has come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon you." In the Amplified Version, it tells you to arise from the depression and oppression that has held you down, and arise to new life. This is the time to call upon the Lord to begin to break those things that have held down your spirit, for this is the time for the Spirit of God to begin to arise within us.
The word "arise" means to stand firm; to come from a lying down position to a stand. When we begin to arise and allow God's glory to arise through us, we will take our stand against the powers and principalities that have resisted us. As we allow the Spirit of the Lord to arise within us, we will find that He gives us the expectation of new life and the strength to bring that life to birth.
Once this process begins and we identify what burden God wants us to pray over, we begin to agonize and feel the urgency of seeing the burden birthed. The burden becomes our own "baby" as God's heart for seeing that thing brought forth, begins to press down on our spirits. With it comes oppression, but it's not the oppression of the devil. If your assignment, for instance, is a travail to break an oppression over certain people on God's heart, you can actually begin to feel the oppression they are under. That is the time to travail until the oppression breaks--until, as in natural childbirth, the Heavenly opening is large enough, so that God's will can come forth on the earth.
Linda Heidler, who understands and leads many intercessors through their travail says: "One of the most interesting passages about wailing is Jeremiah 9:17-18, which says to call for the "skillful wailing women." There are three words used for these women. One, "qun," indicates the sound that they make in their wailing. The second word, "chakam," is from the root word for wisdom or skill in living. The third word, "nehiy" means lamentation.
Jeremiah 9 describes a time of great national distress. These women were called to help the nation weep. These women were skilled in releasing the sound which would cause the nation to weep--to grieve over its condition, repent before God and willingly yield to Him again. We must not fear travail. Men--do not think that travail is only a "woman" experience!
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