"But as they came closer to Jerusalem and Jesus saw the city ahead, He began to cry." Luke 19:41.....Definition of "travail" - Painful or laborious effort. An ordeal."

A while back I was visiting a friend, and as we talked of many things, he shared an incident from his early years in Christ. He and another had gone to visit the home of an unsaved man. It's become politically incorrect to use that term in a lot of places, but that is exactly what he was. He didn't know Christ. My friend said that after they had visited and shared His love with the man, they returned to the car. He said that as he sat in the front seat, he just began to weep over this man's deep need of the saving, transforming grace of God. After sharing that, he added, "You know, it has been many years since I "travailed" over someone's soul with tears." His words weighed on my heart. When was the last time I had shed tears over the lostness of someone? Had I ever.....really?

Travail. Does the word have any familiarity to us? Does it's meaning? There is a great deal of talk and effort going on about "being missional," and winning souls to Christ. Yet, it seems that so much of it is packaged in a kind of plan or system. We seem to think it's just a matter of getting the word out, sharing Jesus in language that everyone can understand, and that people will then "see the light," and come to Christ. I am wondering more and more whether we have lost sight that salvation is a spiritual work of grace, and that this work of God is opposed at every step by satan, the enemy of our souls? It's not a marketing issue. It is an issue of a literal battle in the heavens between the power of the kingdom of darkness and the Kingdom of God and Light. It's a battleground and only those who not only wear the armor of God, but know how to wage war in prayer will prevail. We go "into the enemies camp" in our warfare praying and our object is to see souls released from its captivity. It has been said that every great work of God begins with a kneeling saint. One who knows the cost of travailing prayer, yet is willing to pay that cost, and press on till that prayer lays hold of Him who sits on the throne and He lays hold of that prayer. Kingdoms than collide, the earth shakes, and Almighty God moves. Oh that I would be, we would be, such people of prayer.....travailing prayer.

David Brainerd was a missionary to the Delaware Indians of North America. He labored long and hard among them, yet only won a handful of converts. He died too young, but left behind a journal filled with his tearstained cries to the Father for the souls of those he labored among. The Father, through that journal, laid hold of the hearts of men such as John and Charles Wesley, and William Carey, considered the father of modern missions. Add to these hundreds more whose hearts were moved and inspired by the deep, unending burden Brainerd carried to see those the Lord had entrusted to him, come to Christ. Brainerd had no goals or target numbers. He had a heart wrenching, tear filled desire and love for the lost. He assailed heaven on their behalf. Does this sound like you and me? Does it sound like our churches? What place does the word travail have in our lives and ministries? We shed so many tears for ourselves and what touches our lives. What tears do we shed for the lost ones who are everywhere around us? We must be a people whose hearts are moved by what moves His. Having such a heart means we live in His joy and peace, but also with the heaviness of heart that comes with knowing that multitudes around us have no knowledge of that joy, that peace. Of His joy and peace.....of Him. Such a heart travails in prayer and comes only from Him. Do we have such hearts. Do we really even want them?

Blessings,
Pastor O

 

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