As I journeyed forward from burnout in ministry a few years ago, I began to learn more about my spiritual sensitivity and discernment, a gift and a curse at times. Definitely a gift the enemy hates.
Years ago, I read this post on Burden Bearing and it opened my eyes. Yet, I thought it was a gift that others had. I was wrong.
After burnout, my doctor ordered me to rest from burden bearing, and I began learning more from Murray Dueck of Samuel’s Mantle about my gifting.
I now understand why the last year of Sunday mornings pastoring at an institutional church became increasingly heavy for me and I could feel a huge weight some days during a dark season. I stood from the platform and could feel the judgement, the fear and intimidation, the manipulation, the pain, the sin of others around me, and the disunity. I could feel the burden of the Lord for His Bride. Sundays, I prayed for several people and often the entire church. I preached the Word, mentored volunteers, and Sunday afternoons I would crash.
For ten years, I made a practice of prayer walking on Mondays with my prayer partner. Once a month, I would spend a day in prayer in the countryside or at the nearby spiritual retreat centre. Every morning, I prayed on the armour of God because of the battle constantly around me. I had 12 prayer warriors who over the years multiplied to 24 who were committed to praying for me weekly. I refused to do any ministry without prayer. (Recently, I was inspired by the story of Charles Finney and his intercessors and what their prayer journals revealed.) Some seasons, I prayer walked around the church weekly for months. I recall one month when I did this, I referred thirteen people to counsellors. People came forward in repentance.
My office always had several huge boxes of Kleenex in it for people originally coming to my office to small talk and often burdens came rolling off of them… and on to me. We prayed and battled together and took these burdens to Jesus. With one woman and the help of another prayer partner, we battled for five hours helping her break free from bondage, which the enemy would try to throw back on her for years, and we continued to battle together like sisters jumping in the mud puddles. Sometimes I visited patients in the psychiatric ward. (It surprisingly was one of my favourite places to battle in prayer. I had the most incredible prayer times and conversations about Jesus with others there.)
Today, here’s a glimpse of what I have learned about myself…
Burden Bearing is stepping into a burden that Jesus is carrying on behalf of his bride. It is a form of intercessory prayer that God calls us into – a form of prayer that can come as a weight, emotion, or burden. It’s a picture of the friends who carried their friend on the mat to Jesus.
Blessings of a Burden Bearer
- You hate sin because you see and feel its effects on people and the heart of God.
- You know the power of the cross as you see it brought to bear on the sin of man and the work of the enemy.
- You fall in love with Jesus more and more as you minister with him and share how he feels – his suffering and comfort! You begin to see man through the eyes of God!
- You deal with your issues so you can effectively pray for others. (My regular prayer was always: “Less of me, more of you Jesus!”)
In burden bearing, the intercessor (the one who stands in between), takes the burden a person is carrying and passes it to the Lord. The Lord then passes us the peace, righteousness, power, etc that the person needs. We then pass that anointing we have received from the Lord to the person we are burden bearing for. (Or church, ministry, nation, etc…)
I realized that I was constantly carrying stuff to Jesus and He would exchange it with peace and power to give back to the person and the church.
A few years ago on a Sabbatical in 2015, I read the book: “Reese Howells: Intercessor” and was blown away. If you have a heart to pray and have a burden for others, I recommend it.
These days, I am even more intentional than ever before to meet with the Lord to simply worship and rest, lingering with Jesus at his feet. Getting away, I realized just how much the enemy hated me praying for those around me and doing life with them in His Word.
Prayer is my lifeline.
Discipling others fires me up!
The enemy hates when we do this and will try to attack you through your family, friends, mentors. Do not be surprised when he does.
“The thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy…”
The enemy wants to turn you away from focusing on Jesus, talking with Him, and sharing Him with others.
Each time the enemy has tried to take me out, he has gone in like a Trojan horse through people I am close to. As a result, I could humanly conclude that no one is trustworthy and I could fall into putting myself into isolation. But, instead… I am re-learning that I must refocus on Jesus and stay clean…
- At the end of the day, turn all your burdens over to Jesus. (Matt 11:28)
- Spend time in worship.
- Learn that we are not to keep the burden but pass it to get to the anointing.
- Be in community and pray for each other. Spend time in restful places.
And this is what I have been doing…
Gathering with friends to pray – talk with Jesus and hear His voice!
To those of you who have prayed for me and with me over the years, thank you!
For those of you who had lost your way, I forgive you and release you to Jesus. I pray you have peace in our Ultimate Burden Bearer who bore our burdens on the cross (Isaiah 53). I pray you can be set free!
Galatians 6:2 (NIV) – “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
We carry each other’s burdens to give to Jesus to carry to the cross. The cross sets us free!
Meditate on these words…
2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (NIRV) Praise to the God Who Gives Comfort
3 Give praise to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! He is the Father who gives tender love. All comfort comes from him. 4 He comforts us in all our troubles. Now we can comfort others when they are in trouble. We ourselves receive comfort from God. 5 We share very much in the sufferings of Christ. So we also share very much in his comfort. 6 If we are having trouble, it is so that you will be comforted and renewed. If we are comforted, it is so that you will be comforted. Then you will be able to put up with the same suffering we have gone through. 7 Our hope for you remains firm. We know that you suffer just as we do. In the same way, God comforts you just as he comforts us.
Romans 8:26-27 (NIRV)
26 In the same way, the Holy Spirit helps us when we are weak. We don’t know what we should pray for. But the Spirit himself prays for us. He prays through groans too deep for words. 27 God, who looks into our hearts, knows the mind of the Spirit. And the Spirit prays for God’s people just as God wants him to pray.
Romans 8:34 (NIRV)
34 Then who can sentence us to death? No one. Christ Jesus is at the right hand of God and is also praying for us. He died. More than that, he was raised to life.
Colossians 1:24 (NIRV) Paul’s Work for the Church
24 I am happy because of what I am suffering for you. My suffering joins with and continues the sufferings of Christ. I suffer for his body, which is the church.
Here’s a book written by my course teacher:
Keepers of the Presence is your roadmap to help you develop your unique gift of spiritual sensitivity so you can steward the presence of God wherever you go!In this book you will find over 50 “Filling Stations” or activations designed to help you understand all that you sense and feel happening in the world around you. With these practical activities, you will discover how to respond appropriately and how to step into and release the presence of God.