Question from a Prayer Partner:

How will I know that God is calling me to pray for a situation if I don’t feel a heavy burden that moves me to pray?

My Answer:

Rather than depending on the feeling of a heavy burden to move you to pray, I suggest that you have a set time to meet with God, and learn to wait for the leading of the Holy Spirit. Prayer is communication with God through His Spirit and the Word. The Spirit and the Word always agree!

First, let me say that a “burden from God” is not sympathy, it is not psychological and it does not originate in the emotions. Usually, it is wise to ask someone else to pray when you are emotionally involved in a situation. You can learn to bring your emotions under the control of the Holy Spirit. Emotions aren’t good or bad. When you yield the “heavy burden” to the control of the Holy Spirit, He may use a sense of urgency to help you pray effectively. It is comforting to know that your tears are often prayers that cannot be uttered. Hannah prayed with great emotion, and David’s prayers could be raw and emotional. God is near those who are of a broken and contrite spirit.

Second, I like have chosen to identify a “prayer burden” as a prayer assignment. I believe that a prayer assignment (or burden) originates from the intercession of Jesus. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. The assignment is deposited in your spirit, and revealed to your mind by the Holy Spirit who helps you pray. Over the years the Holy Spirit has dropped the name of a person I hadn’t seen for years, or someone’s face has appeared on the mirror of my mind, He may remind me of a conversation, and at times a Scripture or the memory of a song prompts me to pray.

The school of prayer is a spiritual exercise and discipline, and as I study the Bible, which is my prayer manual I became aware of the division of spirit and soul (feelings)…feelings that I had depended on to alert me to spiritual activities. If we remain reachable, the Holy Spirit will teach us experientially according to the Scriptures. The school of prayer is on-going!

Experiences in Prayer:

There was a time in our prayer group when we had a lady who carried heavy burdens and we could count on her to weep, even wail, when the “spirit was moving.” Her weeping was our signal that we had connected with the Holy Spirit in prayer…when her crying was over we thanked God for the answer, and felt satisfied.

Lo and behold, one day the Master Teacher gave us a lesson we never forgot! That morning the “weeping intercessor” received a phone call from a close friend who needed divine intervention. We began to pray, but there was no weeping from anyone! No one felt burdened or heavy-hearted, so our praying was “cut and dried!” Finally, after praying everything we knew to pray including a written Scriptural prayer, it seemed to please the Spirit for us take up the remaining prayer requests. Later that afternoon we received the news from her friend that our prayers had availed much! God had heard and answered prayer!

One other experience was in church on a Sunday night. It was the first time I experienced a weeping on the inside that did not spill over into my emotions. Deep called to deep, and I knew that Romans 8:28 was working in the midst of circumstances beyond human control. Before the service was dismissed I sensed a deep satisfaction in my entire being…spirit, soul and body! Through practice we learn to listen to the Spirit of God who lives in us. We recognize the voice of the Good Shepherd and the voice of a stranger we will not follow.

A prayer assignment can be long-term or short-term. God is a Spirit, and even as we worship Him in spirit and in truth we learn to be led by His Spirit that He may be glorified. He helps us pray when we don’t know how or what to pray. It is from the Spirit and by the Spirit, and it’s all by His grace! Without Him we can do nothing!

Scripture references: Hebrews 4:12, 2 Pet 1:4, Matthew 11:30, Romans 8, John 4:23, Rev. 2:7, Psalm 42:7

Your Partner in Prayer,