P.S.A. - [Public Service Announcement ]
Breaking News-Brooklyn. And application from Old Testament writings.
Last weekend in New York City, decided to check out the #1 Yelp-reviewed church. The setting was a little building in a Puerto Rico/Hasidic Jewish neighborhood in the Williamsburg district of Brooklyn. [Welcome to City Light Church, New York City.]
Friendly faces and handshakes of welcome were all around . . . a great worship band led our multi-ethnic congregation in several songs. Some folks just sang, some listened, many raised their hands, some swayed and a few felt free enough to be prostrate on the ground. As for me: I like the freedom of expression.
Pastor Michael White gave a message that was totally compelling and left me wanting more. His subject: Prayer ... but not just any kind of prayer, the prayer of travail. What is the prayer of travail or birthing prayer? I hope you will lean in because I know it is what I'm meant to do right now, and perhaps you too.
Do you have a burning within, that seems it can't be satisfied? Or do you have a weight upon your chest that you can't quite understand or get rid of?
Lean in. You might be struggling with where you are gifted or unsure even of purpose? Perhaps God is calling you to travail. Hang with me there.
Pastor Mike said some very powerful things, such as: our highest calling is to pray.
>There are things God wants to do in your life that can only be achieved through prayer.
Further, >there are some things God wants to bring forth through our travail, and willingness to stay with God - perhaps overlong on our knees, perhaps through tears and emotion, yes perhaps while fasting ...
And I would be so bold to say that >the BIRTH-the thing God wants to do-- will not happen unless we travail in prayer.
One concrete example of travail in the Scripture is in 1 Kings 18. In the Old Testament, when God wanted to get a message to his people, he would place a 'burden' on a prophet, so that he got to a point where it was almost unbearable until he delivered that message.
1 Kings chapter 18 captures two scenes from which you and I can learn greatly. This is a time that it was dangerous to be a man of God, even more so, a spokesman for him. Ahab was king of Israel and he was a wicked man, married to Jezebel who was having the prophets killed off by the drove.
Several years before this, Elijah had come to Ahab telling him that there was to be a drought and it would only start to rain again upon his word. Now it is 'time for an abundance of rain', but Elijah will have to do a little work.
1 Kings 18.41-45, NKJV - Then Elijah said to Ahab, "Go up, eat and drink; for there is the sound of abundance of rain." So Ahab went up to eat and drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; then he bowed down on the ground, and put his face between his knees, [this is the position of travail] and said to his servant, "Go up now, look toward the sea." So he went up and looked, and said, "There is nothing." And seven times he said, "Go again."
Then it came to pass the seventh time [all the while, Elijah kept praying], that he said, "There is a cloud, as small as a man's hand, rising out of the sea!" So he said, "Go up, say to Ahab, 'Prepare your chariot, and go down before the rain stops you.' "
Now it happened in the meantime that the sky became black with clouds and wind, and there was a heavy rain. So Ahab rode away and went to Jezreel.
We see in this passage that Elijah had to travail in prayer,
partner with God, to bring the promised rain.
Sometimes God calls us to partner with him in prayer to do the work of the kingdom just as God used Elijah to travail and bring the promised rain to Israel.
I cannot say why it is so, but I believe it to be -
there are some things God wants to do in us that will take a little work
we may be called to be anguished by what anguishes God,
enduring the pangs of labor until a dream is realized,
or breakthrough happens . . .
tirelessly carrying our loved ones before God, sometimes without words...
just as Paul described in Romans 8.26
I entitled this PSA - Public Service Announcement - so in the best interest of the public-maybe your family, your state, your city(?), the thing that is bigger than you-- if God places it on your heart, are you willing to PARTNER WITH GOD and travail in prayer until the thing is done? I believe God is asking us to pray as if our very lives depended on it. For. this. is. the. prayer. of. Travail.