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Prayer Burdens

One of the lies of the enemy, as I mentioned last week in the blog on prayer, is this feeling we often have that prayer is an attempt to twist God's arm. The inner sense that God is reluctant to answer prayer, begrudging about meeting our needs and the needs of others, that somehow we have to coerce Him—these are all LIES foisted upon us by the enemy of our souls who is constantly trying to convince us that God is not good, that He is a withholding God.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Our spiritual burdens for others and for ourselves have not been generated from within ourselves. They are birthed out of the heart of God, out of the Divine Desire to work in us and through us. It is the compassionate, yearning heart of God that seeks us out to pray for individuals and for a world in which He longs to work, revealing Himself and pouring out His grace.

One summer when our oldest son was home after a year of teaching in Northern Iraq, he related to us this personal experience: He was walking through the bazaar (their large open market) during Nawroz (sometimes spelled Newroz, a week-long new year festival in the spring). As he mingled with the thousands of others, he felt a great burden for the people. In his heart he cried out to God, asking if He didn't care about these many people who did not know Him and all He'd done for them through Jesus Christ His Son. The Spirit of God spoke ever so clearly to his heart and mind: "I loved them long before you did; that is why you are here. I sent you." Instantly his thoughts were humbled as he realized the great love of God for the peoples of the world. The love he felt for the Kurdish people had not initiated from his own heart; it had been planted there and cultivated by the God of heaven, whom the Bible defines as Love itself.

What a great lesson this is for all of us. Our role in this world, our desire to help relieve the sufferings of others doesn't spring from ourselves. It finds its source in the very heart of God; He is the wellspring of love and compassion. His heart carries the great burden for the world, not ours. We are given little bits and pieces of it as His life flows into ours. It is His Spirit within us that causes us to cry out in prayer for the needs of others and to open the blinded eyes of the heart to see the greatness of His love.

Through prayer we are presented with the privilege of partnering with God in His love for the world. As you read the news and you feel your heart weighted down with the heartaches and sufferings and difficult circumstances people are facing around the world, use it as opportunities to pray. As you read of political processes that are damaging lives and oppressing people, PRAY.

Through prayer we can travel the world; we can open hearts to the God of Love; we can affect the course of world powers; we can move mountains of hatred and lies; we can uproot natural tendencies of inner destruction, bringing transformation and victory. Prayer transcends our extremely limited strength and ability and links us with the power of God expressed in grace and truth—the two things the world needs most. When we begin to view the burdens of our hearts in this way—not us trying to motivate or move God, but God working within us to motivate and move us to prayer partnership with Himself—these weights of the spirit take on a whole new meaning and purpose. We begin to see ourselves in the true light of who we are in relation to who God is. We are linking up with the God of the universe to reveal Himself and His loving purposes for the world. It can be done any time, anywhere, in any given situation. Pray. Pray without ceasing. Lift every burden, great or small, up to Him. Those burdens are His heart calling to your heart to join Him in prayer.

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