As of late, I have found myself praying more and more for my family, friends, and church. Most recently, I have been interceding in the manifestation of travail. As I shared this with another, I have come to realize that intercessory travail is little understood in today’s church. While certainly, it would take books to fully explain intercessory travail, I thought I would just share a few things that I have learned on the subject and why this manifestation is critical for today.
Travail is the one manifestation of prayer and intercession that is almost never desired yet which can be one of the most influential and powerful. The expression of Travailing ministers in and affects the spiritual realm. Travail is a God-given expression of spirit-anointed intercession that comes in God’s timing and produces the will of God within a given situation in a miraculous way.
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:22-23)
Travail in the Greek is the word Odino which is understood with the pangs of childbirth. Similarly, travailing in the Spirit is often extremely hard and can even be quite painful, but what is happening in the midst of ones travail is birthing something new through the Spirit. It maybe a new job or flow of income, perhaps a new ministry or church, or a new season of joy and favor. As an intercessor, you are the lifeline to another; your travail would be to help birth a new thing in their life. The thing being birthed through the Spirit will always be that which God desires.
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 8:27)
Jesus had to go through seasons of travail in His earthly ministry for the people He was sent to save. This was even prophesied before His birth through the prophet Isaiah: “He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:11). During His earthly ministry He travailed heavily for a lost friend at Lazarus’ tomb (see John 11:33), and then near the end of His earthly ministry He travailed greatly for the people of the world at Gethsemene garden (see Luke 22:44).
The Apostle Paul spoke of his continual travail for those he was a minister unto. He went through these times of travail in order to develop the life of Christ within them. “Oh, my dear children! I feel as if I’m going through labor pains for you again, and they will continue until Christ is fully developed in your lives.” (Galatians 4:19) This is what travail can do; birth Christlikeness. As intercessors this needs to remain in the forefront of our prayer efforts and ministry; to develop Christ in those we are interceding for that they may experience Christ, live for Christ, walk in Christ, abide in Christ, hope in Christ, be blessed in Christ.
Travail needs to be prevailed upon by intercessors everywhere. It is a much needed manifestation in this season for our generation. Cindy Jacobs, in her book ‘Possessing the Gates of the Enemy‘ gives us though a word of caution for this expression: “The Holy Spirit will rule over our emotions in a time of travail…Intercessors need to walk in the fruit of self-control.” In our intercession, we need the fruit of the Holy Spirit in operation as much as the power of the Holy Spirit. But I believe, if the prayer warriors and intercessors of our day will begin to travail in the Spirit for our world we will see a Christ-driven revival in our land. This is what I pray for. Amen!