Thursday, March 13, 2008

Prayer Burn-Out?

Hindrances to Intimacy
with God
By Alice Smith
If we don't acknowledge the possibility of burnout, we will find ourselves burnt out. Burnout is when one is sapped of physical, emotional, and spiritual strength. You don't have to be a minister, to experience this….just let people know you like to pray and it can happen to you. Burnout can happen when we see ourselves as the ones who should take every prayer request regardless if they are our God-given assignment or not.
Taking every prayer assignment that comes along is how some well-meaning Christians find significance. Don't slip into this "messianic role" because it has the potential to lead to pride.
Most praying Christians aren't prideful at all. They are simply immature. Bless them, they've not been taught how to determine God-assigned topics. If that is you, there's no condemnation. Learn today! A God assigned topic is one that pricks your heart, stirs your emotions and captures your thoughts. It's a "ah-ha" moment in your spirit. That is a God-given assignment to accept for prayer.
Other people who pray are just reluctant to say "no." Interpreted as uncaring or unspiritual, the fear of men causes some to say "yes." Wow, that was me! I struggled with disappointing people, so I took on every prayer need given to me. Not good, no, not good at all. Probably like me, you might feel that the Lord expects you to pray fervently for every need out there. Dear God, how could any of us do this effectively? We can't.
If we have a poor "father image" we may accept prayer assignments in hope of getting God's fatherly approval. Guess what? You are accepted just as you are. (See John 3:16; Eph. 1:6) Isn't that great news?
Chuck and Delsie Moore are a precious godly couple, living in the St. Louis, Missouri area. They are board members of the U.S. Prayer Center. Chuck is one of the most gentle, yet effective prayer warriors you could ever meet. Everything about him radiates the love of Jesus. His wife, Delsie cares for their grandchildren in her home. Chuck shared this story and describes perfectly the kind of child/father relationship God wants from us.

"Elly is a shy 2 years old and a very precious little girl. Delsie cares for Elly, our granddaughter, while her parents work so I see her most every day. She has been very stand-offish with me for some time. But every time I would see her I would say "Hi Elly!" and she would say NO! in a very stern voice. I have tried and tried to win her love but all she would do is say "NO!"
One evening the family was together and Elly wanted her mother to read a book to her. Her mother was busy preparing supper so she told Elly she didn't have time right then. So I said "Elly, I will read the book to you." I'm thinking in my mind she will never let me read to her. But to my surprise she climbed up in my lap and let me read the book. After I read to her Elly went back to saying "NO!"
However, little by little these past few months it has gotten where she will say "Hi" and sometimes "Hi Poppa." Yesterday I drove over to my son's house and Elly was in the driveway. Without hesitation she ran straight to me and jumped up into my arms. Of course I smothered her with hugs and kisses.
Isn't this a picture of our relationship with Father? He longs for a relationship with us and draws us to himself time after time and we continue to say "NO!" Sometimes when we want something bad enough we will come to him but after we get what we want we go back to "NO!" But because he loves us God keeps trying to build a relationship with us.
We may even get to the point when we will say "Hi!" and "thank you" and think we have a relationship with God. All the while what he really wants is for us to jump into his arms so he can lavish his love on us.
Chuck Moore, sent by email, May 6, 2007

Great story, huh? If we suffer from guilt whether true or false guilt, we may take these prayer assignments subconsciously hoping to earn a right standing with God; when it can only be found with genuine confession, the cleansing blood of Christ deciding to forgive ourselves and forgive those who have hurt us. (See 1 John 1:9, Matt. 18:32-35)
Self condemnation, feelings of unworthiness, rejection, and performance will cause us to attempt to use activity to find personal significance. All of this leads to burnout.
The result of burnout is that we lose our desire and ability to silence our hearts for genuine intimacy with Jesus but instead move into a work mode that creates a blackout in our life.
Blackout is when we are numb, tired, and unable to hear the voice of God. Why does this happen? Because if we look for power (approval from men, driven by having to get answers to needs, or seeking approval from God by working) instead of passion, then our relationship with Jesus will be driven by a adolescent attitude that expects Jesus to meet us on our terms. That is soulish, not spiritual. And it's a good sign of blackout.
Intimacy with God is the foundation of our spiritual authority. We have no more authority over darkness than we have intimacy with the Father. To the degree of the depth of intimacy we have gained with Jesus, to that degree we will see warfare breakthrough in the heavenlies. As we, his Church, approach the challenges foretold in Scripture for the last days, we will need more and more authority--thus more and more intimacy with God!
Power follows passion, and not in reverse. Power is often selfish, demanding, and aggressive. If we seek power first, then we are likely to become self-motivated following our own desires instead of God's will. However, if we passionately seek to be God's intimates, then the power to live, pray and achieve breakthroughs will result. Passion for Jesus should always be our first priority in life. Passion to serve him, love him and appreciate him on his terms.
So what is intimacy? Here's my definition. "Intimacy is a close or warm friendship, a feeling of belonging together, and a loving relationship that stems from a strong mutual intention to share feelings, understanding, and communication." Intimacy doesn't "just happen." It must be intentionally sought, cultivated, and maintained. It's a continual process, not an event. Release any guilt or shame from the yesterdays, and start your journey fresh and new today....hurry, Jesus is waiting for you!

UPDATE ON EDDIE: What a wonderful group of Christian friends you are. Thank you for all the love letters, prophecies, words of knowledge, Scriptures, PayPal gifts, checks and commitments. My sweetheart is resting like never before. His birthday was March 5, and we celebrated it here at our house with Eddie playing fun slight of hand tricks on the grandchildren....uh and the rest of us. Thank you in advance for your ongoing support... please don't stop. We need you. God has met every bill due, every need, and we are confident your obedience has made the difference!!!

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