IN 1948, I pastored a small church in East Texas. In December of that year, I took time to wait on God. We did not have recorders in those days, but I always had a pad of paper handy. If the Spirit spoke, I would write it down. That day the Lord said something that I have kept with me ever since.
“The secret to a successful apostolic ministry full of faith and power using the divine-given instruments of travail and compassion will make you irresistible."December 1, 1948
If I have had any measure of success at all, it’s on that little piece of paper!
I knew what the Lord meant when He said “full of faith and power,” but He talked to me about those other two—using the divine instruments of travail and compassion. I needed some help there.
Notice how the Holy Spirit said “using the divine-given instruments.” Isn’t that strange language? Well, “divine-given” means “God-given.” But what is an instrument?
For example, a pen is an instrument to write with. It doesn’t jump to the paper and start writing by itself. Someone has to pick it up and start using it. A carpenter has a hammer. A mechanic has wrenches. Instruments are the tools that are used to get the job done.
If we took our car to a mechanic, would he pray all day that God would fix the car? No. He picks up his tools, raises the hood, and gets busy. Similarly, divine-given instruments are God-given tools—travail and compassion—for us to pick up and use.
Deep Prayer of Travail
Notice what Paul said about travail in Galatians 4:19, “My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you.” He is using the term for a woman travailing in natural birth to explain spiritual travail.
Travail is something we know little or nothing about. We use the word “intercession” so lightly. Travail is one side of intercession—the deeper side. We know a little about the shallow side of intercession—we pray with our understanding and with tongues a little bit. But we know very little about real travail in prayer.
I can remember praying like that in days gone by—travailing and groaning until I actually hurt on the inside. I held my stomach because it felt like it was going to bust. I cried out, “Lost! Lost!” for nearly an hour. Afterward, when I went to preach, the power of God fell within 15 minutes, and every sinner in the house got saved. I did not even give an altar call! They just got up and ran to the altar.
If we had more travail, we would have more things like that happening. There is a place we have not been in prevailing, travailing prayer. Only a few have come to the edge of it.
In every great move of God, the Church—the prayers, intercessors, and travailers—gave birth to it. It did not happen because God willed it. It happened because people listened to the Spirit of God and stirred themselves up to seek Him.
Eager Yearnings of Compassion
Now what do we mean about compassion? In Christ the Healer, F.F. Bosworth defines compassion as “to love tenderly, to pity, to show mercy, to be full of eager yearning.” If we look to Jesus for our example, we see that He was moved with compassion and people came to him from every quarter (Mark 1:40–45, Matt. 14:13–14).
When are we going to get people healed? When we are so moved with such eager yearning, we can’t keep from praying—we have to lay hands on them. When we reach out to the world around us in the compassion of Jesus, people will come to us.
If Jesus is in us, then His compassion is in us too. Let’s pick up that tool and start using it.
I have found that I am moved by the Spirit of God toward little children who are afflicted and twisted. I have taken them in my arms, held them up against me, and wept. I feel something—I believe the compassion of Jesus—flowing through me into them. Sometimes I have handed them back to the mothers without seeing any difference. I’ve later received letters from the parents saying from that moment, the child began to change. It’s healing compassion.
Some people try to use prayer and compassion when they are not full of faith and power, and they are not effective.
If you are full of the Holy Spirit, you are full of power. But you need something besides power to get the job done. You have to have faith. Then along with the same faith you use for yourself, you need the spirit of compassion to pray and use your faith to help others.
When we are full of faith and power—if we will pick up the divine instruments of travail and compassion and use them for others—we will be irresistible!
Faith IN ACTION
Oh God, forgive us for being negligent. We have been comfortable, unconcerned, and careless. We humble ourselves. Forgive us for not wanting to be disturbed. Help us pick up the divine-given instruments of travail and compassion and go forth to save the lost, heal the sick, work signs and wonders, and do the work of God.
Kenneth E. Hagin
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