I admit it – I am the absolute LAST person on the face of this entire earth that should be writing this chapter. I do not know how to actually “do” what I named the title of this chapter. (Gasp! But, give me a chance to explain, though! Please!) Time after time – after time – I fail miserably. I just failed –AGAIN – but as an example, I am going to share that failure with you, so we can all benefit from it – me included!
I was intensely focusing my heart and prayers on a situation that I know my prayer assignment needs prayer for, when I received word of an untimely death. My heart, which was already greatly hurting over the very situation I was originally praying for, broke even more. (Is that possible?) The pain was unbearable. My heart hurt so much. (Sometimes I wonder how intercessors are supposed to stay sane in their closets – but then I think, “I know better than that.”) So, I took a deep breath – well, as deep as I could with pleurisy (an inflammation in the lining around the lung), and I very simply asked God for strength and help. (Even “MIGHTY CLOSET WARRIORS” need to cry to God for help for themselves.) I realized, unfortunately, that I had taken one too many deep breaths, because my chest started to terribly hurt. My physical pain, however, was nothing compared to the emotional pain that I felt in my heart.
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:28-30 (KJV)
“No, it isn't,” I think to myself. (Gasp again! Again, hear me out, please!) God is the One Who called me to be my prayer assignment's intercessor, and He also gave me an intensely sensitive heart to the prayer needs of others as well. I cannot handle it all!
Hmmm, that's right. I cannot handle it all. But, He can! When I go to Him, when I am laboring and weary, He will give me rest. Rest. Ahhh, rest.
I remember after the very first time I “prayed through” a three-day-long-tv-shoot for my filmmaker prayer assignment. I had never before prayed so intensely for three days straight. It sounds so “easy” now compared to then, but it was my very first experience, and I was overwhelmed beyond anything I had ever experienced in prayer prior to that. I remember very clearly crying to my assignment on the phone about it. He told me, “You're a 'Battle-Weary Warrior' and you need some rest.” He was right. That was in November of 2009. If I had called him today, at that very instant that my heart was breaking beyond my ability to bear, and cried to him that my heart was overwhelmed with intensely painful prayer needs, he probably would have told me the very same thing he told me then – and he would still be right today.
Remembering that conversation, I took a break. Instead of praying for what I had been praying about, I prayed for something happy. Something hopeful. After, I tried to focus my heart on God, Himself. I tried to get my eyes off of the pain that my heart was entering into on behalf of my assignments, and tried to get them on “The Only One Who Can Truly Help.”
Then, oddly enough, I remembered that my children need money for a church activity that they would be attending. I walked over to where my husband keeps his money, (Don't worry. I have permission to take his money! Wink!) and I took some money to give to my daughter. She, in her very sweet voice, said that she had money so I didn't have to take it from Daddy. But, I proudly proclaimed something about God loving a cheerful giver (see 2 Corinthians 9:7), and I am such a cheerful giver with Daddy's money! We both laughed. It was a much-needed laugh for my hurting soul.
After that, God reminded me of the verse, “The joy of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10b KJV) My strength. Our strength. We, as Closet Intercessors, need to keep HIS joy, regardless of the pain of the prayer requests that come our way, for the joy of the Lord, TRULY, is our strength.
Therefore I will look unto the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation: my God will hear me.
Rejoice not against me, O mine enemy: when I fall, I shall arise; when I sit in darkness, the LORD shall be a light unto me.
(Micah 7:7-8 KJV)
So, yes, I failed – AGAIN! I fell, but I arose, and when I sat in the darkness of intense pain, the LORD was a light unto me because I looked unto the LORD and I waited for the God of my salvation. And – my God heard me. He gave me strength – the strength I cried out for. (another deep breath – This one does not hurt as much!)
What Practical Application Nugget Did We Learn?
As intercessors, the focus should always be on God. We may, at times, become “Battle-Weary Warriors,” but when we cannot handle it all, we need to remember that He can! When we go to Him, when we are laboring and weary, He will give us rest. Additionally, we, as Closet Intercessors, need to keep HIS joy, regardless of the pain of the prayer requests that come our way, for the joy of the Lord, TRULY, is our strength!
Practical Application Power Prayer:
Comforting Father, when I become a “Battle-Weary Warrior,” give me the strength to go to You, and when I am laboring and weary, please give me rest. Please help me, as a Closet Intercessor, to keep Your joy, regardless of the pain of the prayer requests that come my way, for I truly know that the joy of the Lord is my strength! Amen!