QUESTION AND ANSWER SESSION WITH PASTOR CHRIS OYAKHILOME.
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO LABOR IN THE SPIRIT OR TRAVAIL IN THE SPIRIT?
QUESTION – Clara Allen (United Kingdom): Dear Pastor Chris, thank you for providing us this opportunity to address questions that we sometimes do not know how to answer. What does it mean to labor in the spirit or travail in the spirit? As a leader, I have been advised to labor in the spirit for my members. I have searched the scriptures, but I still need an insight into this. I thought if you prayed earnestly for a desired result and you believed you have received, then you shall have what you have asked for. Thank you.
ANSWER: Well, laboring in the spirit or travailing in the spirit refers to two things: Laboring in the spirit just means that you’re working with the materials of the spirit – the Word of God, prayer, encouragement, sharing with them. That’s labor. When we teach people, when we study the Word of God and go out to visit and teach people the Word of God and encourage them and strengthen them, that’s laboring in the spirit, because it’s a spiritual ministry. So, that’s laboring in the spirit.
Now, the second thing is travailing in the spirit – part of laboring in the spirit; it means PRAYER. And, Paul said the same thing, he said, “my little children of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you” [Galatians 4:19]; he was talking about intercessory ministry [or] intercessory prayer. So, we call it travailing because you pray in tears – YOU CRY. I understand what you’re trying to say here, “I thought if you prayed earnestly for a desired result, and you believe you have received then you shall have what you asked for.” Yes, you’re referring to a prayer of faith. Prayer of faith is when you pray like that and just expect that you got it – “whatsoever things ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye received them, and ye shall have them” [Mark 11:24]. That’s the prayer of faith, but intercessory prayer is different.
The prayer of faith is for SOMETHING YOU WANT; it all depends on you, but intercessory prayer has to DO WITH SOMEONE ELSE WHO HAS A DIFFERENT WILL. And, as a leader, what they’re trying to tell you is that you’ve got to intercede for your members. That means you’re praying for people who have their own will, and they may not be subject to the word of God. They may be rebellious sometimes; they may be childish sometimes. They may be unwilling to do the things they’re supposed to be doing, which means you’re going to have to intercede, because now you’re asking God to do something that has to do with other people.
You’re praying for them about them, for their sake. In that case, you can’t just pray and run off; you’re going to have to pray in intercession, which refers to this travail in the spirit. Sometimes, you cry…sometimes, there are deep sighs; sometimes, it is as though you feel like you’re in their very situation. When you intercede for others, sometimes you feel their pain. Sometimes, you feel as though you’re even lost yourself when you’re interceding for a lost man. When you’re interceding for someone who’s gone wayward, you feel like you’re the one who’s gone wayward [you know]. You feel the pain, see? And, that kind of intercessory ministry is what you’re being taught; that’s why they said you should labor in the spirit or travail in the spirit. That’s what it’s all about.
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