I want to throw this thought out here for your consideration. It was so impacting to me that I thought you all could share the weight of it. The reference is from the writings of Watchman Nee — Powerful According to God: 31 Days of Meditation and Prayer (2005). Excerpts are from devotional #12 called Prayer and Burden, with Psalm 55:22a as a focus scripture.
Cast thy burden upon Jehovah, and he will sustain thee.
Keep in mind that the following excerpts are not to provoke us to a law of prayer, to which standard none of us may measure. Instead, let the following statements inspire our present (and limited) understanding of prayer and God and how He works vs. how we think He works.
Each time God puts a prayer thought into us His Holy Spirit first moves us into having a burden to pray for that particular matter. As soon as we receive such feeling we should immediately give ourselves to prayer. We should pay the cost of praying well for this matter. (p. 73)
These are the opening words (above) and struck me because my pastor uses a phrase often about people “given to prayer”. We should invest ourselves in the burden…and ‘pay the cost of praying well’. This got me too because it suggests there is an under-par effort of prayer. It is possible to not pray well.
If we do not pray it [the burden] out we are not in harmony with God’s heart. Were we to be faithful in prayer, that is to say, were we to pray as soon as the burden comes upon us, prayer would not become a weight, it would instead be light and pleasant. (p. 73)
I know I don’t need to say much on this one…but I will comment that I know several people who are “light and pleasant” concerning prayer. They are consistent, faithful, and I count them as my early prayer mentors (from a distance — I don’t think they knew how much they taught me). Let’s get up and pray — not turn over for a few more minutes and lose hours.
Let us ask the Lord to make us faithful prayer partners. As soon as the burden comes, we have it discharged by praying it out. If the burden grows too heavy and it cannot be discharged by prayer, then we should fast. When prayer cannot discharge a burden, fasting must follow. (p. 74)
This passage (above) explains a little more the connection between fasting and prayer. Good, right?
Let us recognize this one thing: burden is the secret of prayer. If a person does not feel within him burden to pray for a particular matter he can hardly succeed in prayer. In a prayer meeting some brothers and sisters may mention a great many subjects for prayer. But if you are not touched inwardly, you cannot pray. (p. 75)
This is a description of many of the prayer meetings we lead and attend. We need to get through the list of requests. Nee suggests that once we ALL pray out one request, then we ALL move to the next. In this, the burden lifts for each request.
Brethren should learn to touch the spirit of the entire gathering. They must learn to enter into the feeling of the whole assembly. Let us see that some matters may only need to be prayed once and the burden for such is over and done with. But other matters perhaps need to be prayed twice… [Regardless] of the number of times, the burden must be discharged before prayer on a particular item is ended. (p. 76)
I know you praying folks are excited about this exposure! Marinate and meditate, and feel free to share how the Lord “burdens” you. Selah, and love to all.