Travail is a ministry of intercession and compassion.
It is expressing the heart of the Father, and it is sharing in the pain He feels every day looking at the violence in the world.
Every day in the world, children are killed through disease, murder, abuse, neglect and torture.
If we take this one aspect alone, just looking at little children, it is enough to make you weep and cry.
Add to that youth killing each other, adults killing each other, wars, and destruction, then you can imagine how grieved Father God is at what He must look at every day.
Travail is not something you can fake, though I’ve seen people try. It just erupts from your SPIRIT man. It is the DEEP calling unto DEEP spoken of in the Word.
It is spoken of in many books of the Bible, and with so many scriptures that describe the rending of the soul, it is amazing that the church so disdains emotions.
Apparently much of the church doesn’t read the Bible if they think that tears are a sign of weakness.
Because as you read through these scriptures you will even see that it is commanded to TEACH your daughters to wail and cry! God wants us to be ONE with His heart for His creation.
“I am weary with my groaning; All night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away because of grief; It grows old because of all my enemies,” Psalm 6:6-7 NKJV.
The heart that is soft learns to feel what He feels. The heart that is guarded or doesn’t want to accept emotions expressed in the heart of God is one that is either ignorant or lacking in compassion them-selves, or bitter.
Hardness of heart is easy to come by in today’s world, because of all the coldness in people’s hearts.
But if we don’t take the daily stuff we go through to Him, to cleanse our hearts, it is easy to become insensitive to the Holy Spirit. It is easier to be busy and to ignore the plight of others, than to look at it.
This is written and dedicated to the many intercessors who have been misunderstood and maligned in their quest to have HIS HEART.
First, let’s look at some definitions and scriptures on “travail”.
“SING, O barren one, you who did not bear; break forth into singing and cry aloud, you who did not travail with child! For the [spiritual] children of the desolate one will be more than the children of the married wife, says the LORD,” Isaiah 54:1 AMP
[Galatians 4: 27.] OT: 2342 chuwl (khool); or chiyl (kheel); a primitive root; properly, to twist or whirl (in a circular or spiral manner), i.e. (specifically) to dance, to writhe in pain (especially of parturition) or fear; figuratively, to wait, to pervert: KJV -bear, (make to) bring forth, (make to) calve, dance, drive away, fall grievously (with pain), fear, form, great, grieve, (be) grievous, hope, look, make, be in pain, be much (sore) pained, rest, shake, shapen, (be) sorrow (-ful), stay, tarry, travail (with pain), tremble, trust, wait carefully (patiently), be wounded.
“For I have heard a cry as of a woman in travail, the anguish as of one who brings forth her first child – the cry of the Daughter of Zion, who gasps for breath, who spreads her hands, saying, Woe is me now! I am fainting before the murderers,” Jeremiah 4:31 AMP.
I remember one night not long ago watching the news and there was a film of a car chase.
These have been too much followed on TV news of late, and it bothers me to no end that time is taken for it, but there suddenly was a situation where a 20- year-old had robbed a store and police were chasing him in LA somewhere when he suddenly turned somewhere and he couldn’t continue to go ahead, so he started to very slowly back up.
When he did, the police opened fire on him and shot him to death, right there on live TV in front of everyone.
I was in shock and horror… and began to scream and weep thinking, Why did they do that?
He wasn’t ramming into them or anything. I felt the LORD was showing me how scared that youth was at that moment he found himself caught up with, and how I would feel if I was his mother!
I was so distraught and began to pray also that justice would come of this situation. That God would contend with what happened which everyone watching the news saw that night.
Sure enough, a few days later they announced the police changed their policy about cars backing up and would no longer assume it as an attack on themselves.
So some laws got changed at the cost of a young human life. Still, it was just so terrible a situation.
I was sobbing and crying and couldn’t stop for a while. And in that moment, I saw how vulnerable my own son was if the world continues also in this vanity of violence and rationalizing murder.
In that moment I saw that NONE of our sons were safe, not just that young man – but if someone just has a bad day, and misunderstands something said, he could rationalize murder and get away with it.
Travail: OT: 2470 chalah (khaw-law’); a primitive root [compare OT: 2342, OT: 2470, OT: 2490]; properly, to be rubbed or worn; hence (figuratively) to be weak, sick, afflicted; or (causatively) to grieve, make sick; also to stroke (in flattering), entreat: KJV -beseech, (be) diseased, (put to) grief, be grieved, (be) grievous, infirmity, intreat, lay to, put to pain, pray, make prayer, be (fall, make) sick, sore, be sorry, make suit (X supplication), woman in travail, be (become) weak, be wounded.
Tears themselves alone are a form of entreaty to the LORD. Words do not always have to accompany them to be a prayer.
“We have heard the fame thereof: our hands wax feeble: anguish hath taken hold of us, and pain, as of a woman in travail,” Jeremiah 6:24 KJV.
Travail here is:
OT: 3205 yalad (yaw-lad’); a primitive root; to bear young; causatively, to beget; medically, to act as midwife; specifically, to show lineage: KJV -bear, beget, birth ([-day]), born, (make to) bring forth (children, young), bring up, calve, child, come, be delivered (of a child), time of delivery, gender, hatch, labour, (do the office of a) midwife, declare pedigrees, be the son of, (woman in, woman that) travail (-eth, -ing woman).
The prophets are the midwifes spiritually! They birth things in the spirit realm.
There does not exist the concept of any prophet who does not pray.
A prophet is the friend of God. He is a prayer warrior. He entreats God on behalf of others.
He is concerned with the things that break God’s heart, and the hearts of those made in His image.
“Ask ye now, and see whether a man doth travail with child? Wherefore do I see every man with his hands on his loins, as a woman in travail, and all faces are turned into paleness?” Jeremiah 30:6 KJV.
“Damascus has grown feeble; she turns to flee, and fear has seized her. Anguish and sorrows have taken her like a woman in labor,” Jeremiah 49:24 NKJV.
“The king of Babylon has heard the report about them, and his hands grow feeble; Anguish has taken hold of him, pangs as of a woman in childbirth,” Jeremiah 50:43 NKJV.
This theme in travail of sorrows such as a woman in labor, is common in the Word and laboring to bring forth a child is very much like the labor of travail in prayer.
I remember the first time I felt like getting in a position for labor as a part of travailing in prayer, and how weird I felt.
Yet it seemed to be what God wanted and it brought forth more unction in prayer through the power of the Spirit of God.
Many intercessors have experienced this. It is just a SIGN or WONDER.
John Wimber used to say a wonder is something that makes you wonder. Prayer is full of such things, things He has you do by the Spirit that make you and everyone else wonder!
Prophetic actions are part of much intercession by the Spirit. And sometimes we just have to lay down our right to understand and just obey!
“He hath builded against me, and compassed me with gall and travail,” Lamentations 3:5 KJV
Travail: OT: 8513 tela’ah (tel-aw-aw’); from OT: 3811; distress: KJV -travail, travel, trouble.
In the days we are living in I can identify with Jeremiah’s lamentations! There is much violence escalating in the world, and everywhere in the world, there are so many things to pray about; war, violence, starvation, injustice, etc.
“Now why dost thou cry out aloud? is there no king in thee? is thy counsellor perished? for pangs have taken thee as a woman in travail. Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go even to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies. I found it interesting that he says, IS THERE NO KING IN THEE?” Micah 4:9-10.
This comes after saying:
“In that day,” declares the LORD, “I will gather the lame; I will assemble the exiles and those I have brought to grief. I will make the lame a remnant, those driven away a strong nation. The LORD will rule over them in Mount Zion from that day and forever. As for you, O watchtower of the flock, O stronghold of the Daughter of Zion, the former dominion will be restored to you; kingship will come to the Daughter of Jerusalem.” Micah 4:6-8 NIV.
So Micah is saying, why are you in travail?
Why are you crying out loud?
Don’t you realize you have a KING among you?
The promise is deliverance from the hand of our enemies in these times. We have a KING in us!
We have the Spirit of the Living GOD residing inside of us. So the LORD can lead us in intercession, in battle, in whatever we are doing if we will only look to HIM.
He will take us to the weeping room however as a means to feel what He is feeling and to intercede with Him for this generation.
“Now also many nations are gathered against thee, that say, Let her be defiled, and let our eye look upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the LORD, neither understand they his counsel: for he shall gather them as the sheaves into the floor. “Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion; for I will make your horn iron, and I will make your hooves bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples; I will consecrate their gain to the LORD, and their substance to the LORD of the whole earth.” Micah 4:11-13 NKJV
One of the things that does happen in travail is the above – the LORD makes our feet bronze, and makes us strong in intercession, even if crying makes us FEEL weak, it is accomplishing MUCH in the Holy Spirit.
“A woman, when she gives birth to a child, has grief (anguish, agony) because her time has come. But when she has delivered the child, she no longer remembers her pain (trouble, anguish) because she is so glad that a man (a child, a human being) has been born into the world,” John 16:21 AMP.
NT: 5088 tikto (tik’-to); a strengthened form of a primary teko (tek’-o) (which is used only as alternate in certain tenses); to produce (from seed, as a mother, a plant, the earth, etc.), literally or figuratively: KJV -bear, be born, bring forth, be delivered, be in travail.
Amazingly, if you go with what the LORD is doing in you in this ministry gift of travail, afterwards you have this total feeling of PEACE when you have finished.
It’s like, you have birthed a baby, and now, you are happy and grateful to be over the process!
“My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,” Galatians 4:19 KJV.
NT: 5605 odino (o-dee’-no); from NT: 5604; to experience the pains of parturition (literally or figuratively): KJV -travail in (birth).
NT: 5604 odin (o-deen’); akin to NT: 3601; a pang or throe, especially of childbirth: KJV -pain, sorrow, travail.
Seems that Paul was very familiar with this form of intercession even as Jesus Himself was.
Paul says in essence he travailed until he could see Christ formed in the life of believers.
He was not satisfied with his intercessions until he could see the evidence of that being accomplished.
“For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God,” 1 Thessalonians 2: 9 KJV.
NT: 3449 mochthos (mokh’-thos); from the base of NT: 3425; toil, i.e. (by implication) sadness: KJV -painfulness, travail.
“For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape,” 1 Thessalonians 5:3.
NT: 5604 odin (o-deen’); akin to NT: 3601; a pang or throe, especially of childbirth: KJV -pain, sorrow, travail.
This is a famous scripture for our times. Just when the world thinks it has some accomplished peace, suddenly comes destruction, even in the same way travail comes upon a woman.
It comes SUDDENLY. You don’t know when it is going to come. It just comes.
“Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you,” 2 Thessalonians 3:8 KJV.
Travail here, OT: 2342 chuwl (khool), has a physical meaning in the Bible also, of laboring hard to accomplish something.
It also has to do with being in torment or great pain. TEARS seem to bother many in the church and many want any tears to stop.
I’m sure this comes most of the time from a human desire to see pain stop. But when tears are flowing from being in the Spirit, then if another is “in the spirit”, they will not try to stop it.
In our humanity we should at the very least assess the situation before assuming someone is just being emotional.
“Return and tell Hezekiah the leader of My people, ‘Thus says the LORD, the God of David your father: “I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; surely I will heal you. On the third day you shall go up to the house of the LORD,” 2 Kings 20:5 NKJV.
The LORD responded to the tears and supplication of Hezekiah and healed him. Tears of desperation often get the most attention from the LORD, just like Jacob when he wrestled.
He was pretty distraught at the news of his brother coming to meet him with a troop of his men. So he sought the LORD in prayer and wrestled with Jesus literally, till he got his blessing!
“Now Esther spoke again to the king, fell down at his feet, and implored him with tears to counteract the evil of Haman the Agagite, and the scheme which he had devised against the Jews. And the king held out the golden scepter toward Esther. So Esther arose and stood before the king, and said, “If it pleases the king, and if I have found favor in his sight and the thing seems right to the king and I am pleasing in his eyes, let it be written to revoke the letters devised by Haman, the son of Hammedatha the Agagite, which he wrote to annihilate the Jews who are in all the king’s provinces. For how can I endure to see the evil that will come to my people? Or how can I endure to see the destruction of my countrymen?” Esther 8:3-6 NKJV.
Here in Esther we see the tears that come, with the realization that she has responsibility for the death and destruction of her whole settlement of people in Babylon, and perhaps with the compassion of the LORD for His people.
So with tears she implores her king who in the story is a type of Christ the Redeemer, for the sake of her people!
And the whole nation ends up being given an option to fight for themselves! Surely in this hour there is a manifest need for Esthers too!
“My friends scorn me; My eyes pour out tears to God,” Job 16:20 NKJV.
“I am weary with my groaning; all night I make my bed swim; I drench my couch with my tears. My eye wastes away….” Psalm 6:6-10 NKJV.
~ Priscilla Van Sutphin
PRISCILLA VAN SUTPHIN is the founder of Upstream Ministries, California, online at www.upstreamca.org and blogtalkradio.com/ Upstream. Donate to Upstream: via secure Paypal by sending as gift to upstream.ca @me.com or send to: Upstream, PMB 545, 14311 Newport Blvd, Suite G, Tustin, CA 9278, USA.