The Intercessor’s Pain: Travail
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The Intercessor’s Pain: Travail
Have you ever been praying in such agony of spirit that it felt like you were giving birth to a spiritual “baby”? If so, that was travailing prayer.
Travailing prayer can look and sound like different things. But no matter what your travailing prayer looks like, it is likely to hurt.
Who is praying on the wall?
Travailing prayer is generally birthed out of love for the Lord or love for people. However, it’s not just a normal love that produces travail, but rather a supernatural spirit of intercession that sits upon you so powerfully that your love threatens to consume you.
Sometimes, travailing prayer is also birthed out of zeal for the Lord’s will — as it is written: “ … Zeal for Your house has eaten Me up” (John 2:17 NKJV). When you are consumed with zeal for the Lord and are desperately interceding for circumstances on earth to match what He describes in His word, that will produce travailing prayer.
We see travailing prayer mentioned in Romans 8:
“Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26–27 NKJV).
The kind of travailing prayer mentioned in Romans 8 can often manifest in literal moaning or groaning — or even in deep tears with your prayers.
We read a striking story about travailing prayer of a different sort in the Gospel of Luke:
Then it happened, as He was coming near Jericho, that a certain blind man sat by the road begging. And hearing a multitude passing by, he asked what it meant. So they told him that Jesus of Nazareth was passing by. And he cried out, saying, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Then those who went before warned him that he should be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to Him. And when he had come near, He asked him, saying, “What do you want Me to do for you?” He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Then Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight, and followed Him, glorifying God. And all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God (Luke 18:35–43 NKJV).
In this example of travailing prayer, the blind beggar knew that his situation did not match God’s will on earth. He was so consumed by the desire for God’s will to be manifest in his own situation that he could only cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” And that is travailing prayer too.
Once, toward the end of an extended period of fasting and prayer, I awoke one morning in great agony of spirit.
The only words in my heart (and I knew they were planted there by Holy Spirit, the great Spirit of grace and supplication) were: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me! Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
I immediately got up and went to my prayer room, where the agony in my heart only increased. I knew that the Lord had put it on my heart to pray such because He was birthing something — but it hurt, and it hurt badly. All the pain of delay and disappointment hit me at once, and all I could cry out to God was that one line: “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” My heart hurt so badly as I prayed this that my body was physically wracked with the pain of my spirit.
But you know what? He answered the cry of my travail.
He did have mercy on me. Why? Because His ears are attuned to the cries of His children. His ears are open to your cries and mine. Even though we may cry out to the Lord “all the more,” the Lord is still saying to you and me today: “What do you want Me to do for you?” And if we can answer in faith just like the blind beggar of old, then His answer to us is always the same: “Your faith has made you well; according to your faith be it unto you.”
Friend, what are you travailing for today?
What has wracked your spirit with such spiritual pain that you cannot help but push the “baby” out in prayer? No matter what it is, know that Jesus, the Son of David, King of kings and Lord of lords, will have mercy on you and help you. He is your ever-present help in time of trouble. And even though it hurts to travail in the spiritual birth process, you can know that you are in “miracle” territory.
You may feel like a blind beggar who doesn’t know what to pray, but keep praying the words that Holy Spirit has put in your heart. The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, and He will deliver you and have mercy on you.
Your travail is not in vain. Even though the spiritual birth process may hurt today, don’t give up. That “baby” is on its way; soon you will see it!
Does this word resonate with you today? If so, leave a comment below!
This article is part of a 5-part series. Find the other installments at the links below.
Part 1. The Intercessor’s Pain: Delay – Intercessors for America (ifapray.org)
Part 2. The Intercessor’s Pain: Travail – Intercessors for America (ifapray.org)
Part 3. The Intercessor’s Pain: Servitude vs. Sonship – Intercessors for America (ifapray.org)
Part 4. The Intercessor’s Pain: Rejection – Intercessors for America (ifapray.org)
Part 5. The Intercessor’s Pain: Misunderstanding – Intercessors for America (ifapray.org)
Jamie Rohrbaugh is the author of On-Time God: 14 Miracle Words and Prayers for RIGHT NOW. She is founder and CEO of From His Presence, a ministry dedicated to equipping God’s people in prayer, the prophetic word, living supernaturally, inner healing, and kingdom wealth. Her writing can be found on YouVersion Bible Plans, in Charisma Magazine, and on The Elijah List, Spirit Fuel, and various other ministry outlets. Download her free prayer tool, Praying the Names of God: 555 Biblical Names of God and How to Use Them in Prayer and Worship, here. Photo Credit: Canva.
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Thanks Sis Jamie for this wonderful article and teaching. It has ministered to my heart and soul. Hallelujah, Glory to God.
IFA quote explains about travail pretty clearly : Travail Hello Mighty Prayer Warriors! Our prayers have great impact when they are inspired and directed by the Holy Spirit. One of the ways He manifests Himself in our intercession is through our emotions. This evidence of His power at work has been greatly misunderstood. Also speaking in tongues goes directly to our Father. “In Galatians 4:19 Paul speaks of travailing in birth until Christ is formed in His spiritual children. “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.” There is more to spiritual warfare than praying and rebuking. Sadly, many people never progress beyond these activities. Discerning spirits, resisting them and driving them out are also important elements. I pray every night resisting the enemies spirits and telling them they have no foot hold over my home, my car, or my family. I do not say it softly either. I shout it loudly, I want to make sure he(it) gets the message. 😊 Psalms: 91-my protector is at work.
I had such prayer yesterday. I could not stop crying over concern for my son and for all the people who have taken the vaccine Knowing my son already has MS but feels his autoimmune system is hurt he’s after as many boosters as he can get. And now he is so sick that he may not be able to come home for Christmas. It is heart breaking to consider that I might lose someone I love so much to greed. A casualty of war. Lord help me as I cannot help myself in regards to this situation. I have friends who have had strokes, blood clots on their brain and I want you to make it go away. But may your will be done LORD. Help me in acceptance. LORD we stand in awe of your mighty deeds. Make them know in this day to this age of people so that billions will turn from their wicked ways, fall on their knees and worship you. In Jesus mighty name Lord I make these requests
Amen and amen 🙏
Years ago I lived in Houston. Our prayer group prayed like this…travailing. We prayed till Jesus showed up, usually around midnight we knew He was among us, and that He had heard us and was pleased. I’ve never experienced that since I left my prayer group to move out of state. But now I’m motivated after reading this article to start a prayer group and pursue our Lord again by travailing. Exhausting yes…worth it …most definitely!
Travailing prayer is much needed today because many of us are very busy. We truly need to evaluate our lives and the importance of the things we do. Praying is really number one or two ( also Biblereading). Travailing prayer takes much persistence and effort. Sometimes when you get so tired and overwhelmed it’s good just to rest a while or wait till tomorrow but do not quit until you have the answer. Daniel had to pray 21 days before the angel Michael could defeat the devil and get through to give Daniel his answer. Daniel 10:12,13. The reward of this kind of prayer is great joy and closeness to God and seeing the answer come to existence and be fulfilled. Altogether well worth the travail and very much like birthing a baby. A casual prayer is usually not heard because you must really put yourself into it. Then God knows you’re really serious about that prayer. 🙏😃
Thank you for being such a blessing from the Lord. You ( our Lord) have been spot on in all your posts, it is evident to me that God is using you. I witness and testify to its accuracy and timeliness. I pray for you and your ministry that God will do as he says in his word and multiply back to you 10 fold, as you are a faithful servant. God is good- faithful- slow to anger and quick to forgive. Glory to God our Father, our savior Jesus Christ and to the Holy Spirit, to whom all glory is due!
Thank YOU, his faithful servant in Christ.
Thank u God for keeping my family and children safe I thank u for protecting us each and every day it’s been a struggler but I managed to stay strong in the mist of my storm I can’t wait to tell my testimony one day thank u Jamie for sending prayers for me to read. Amen!!!
Thankyou Jamie, I have been praying hard to Jesus over something in my life you are right it is painful, thankyou for this word
I think every intercessor should fully memorize Rees Howells Intercessor. It is looping every night as I sleep. I know of no more proven track record than this brother’s education and success in prayer. Yet he talks so much of joy which I do not hear about today. Isaiah says we are granted “joy in the house of prayer.” I’m wondering where the joy is. What truth are we missing? My guess is that we are impatient and not taking our victories one day at a time. There are daily victories, and I think we ought to rejoice in that and in the knowledge that no matter what happens, Jesus is the victor.
Surrender all unto the Lord for He makes all things new
Father thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven!
I agree wholly with this article. We are not intercessors in our own strength. We need to be TOTALLY dependent on Holy Spirit’s wisdom and guidance if we are going to be effective as intercessors. Thank you, Jamie, for this timely and important reminder.
Thank you Brian! You mentioned TWO WORDS that CONFIRMED GOD”S WILL and PURPOSE at least for TODAY!
Those two words?…WISDOM and GUIDANCE (from the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD).
This was the first prayer I prayed this very morning…
I pray for Your Wisdom and Guidance today.
I thank You for all that You have given me. And right here I wait for the promise of MORE…understanding…
(that was just to start the day…I got confirming answers IMMEDIATELY based on those two words WOW!)
SO! Doesn’t matter if our INTERCEDING is not how we would like…BUT you know you are paying a precious price just by sticking CLOSE to our Lord come what may, sometimes joyous sometimes NOT!
At the very most we have made ourselves AVAILABLE for and to HIM – TODAY and we will NOT BE DISAPPOINTED AMEN?!
AMERICA ARISE AND STAND UPON YOUR FEET!!!
AAAAMEN JESUS IS LORD!!!
Thank you for this WORD for today. I literally watch and pray. There’s so much that I’m seeing and praying in GOD’S WORD, that I believe will be accomplished, for a great turn around. Let YOUR KINGDOM COME LORD. I believe YOUR WORD.
Jesus son of David have mercy on me and hear my prayer for my brother Robert who is struggling to come off the vent to be treated for Leukemia today
I have been a prayer warrior May be a prayer worrier forever. I have always had deep discernment and always caring for others and so now I know about travailing prayer and the anguish of the heart and the tears. Understanding this helps me to see the work Holy Spirit is doing both in me for me through me and out to others.But I need continued strength and courage and I need hope and peace as it is very exhausting
God bless you Marsha for writing many of our own same thoughts. Though Intercessors, we are still human and often need strength and refreshment as did Elijah. God speed strength and grace your way.🙏✝️❣️
In JESUS MIGHTY NAME we claim total Healing for Robert and complete Peace for John Ross! Amen!
AMEN JESUS IS LORD!!!
I have only twice before had the kind of travailing prayer with heart rending tears that hurt so much that after an hour or so I had to ask the Lord to take it away as I couldn’t take any more. I was young in the Lord and had no idea at that time what was really happening to me. However, I did see the answer to Holy Spirit prayer some time later but much to my sorrow, now that I have more understanding, have not been used in that powerful way since.
I write this to hopefully bring a little understanding and encouragement to those who find themselves in groaning and painful travail so as to not hinder Holy Spirit’s work through you.