You have showed Your people hard things; You have made us drink the wine of astonishment. — Psalm 60:3
I have been reluctant to write on this subject, because it could be so misunderstood. But I know some of you have either already gone through it, or else you will, and it can be a comfort to know that you are all right — that you haven’t somehow gone off the deep end. I was going to call it the season of astonishment, because that’s what it felt like to me, but I didn’t want to be melodramatic.
Somewhere during the journey of intercession, you may encounter a few times of extreme focus on a particular prayer need: something so absorbing that you almost feel as though your feet are in two worlds at the same time — your natural world and the spirit realm.
I am not speaking of a couple of hours of prayer, but of a lengthy, extraordinarily intense season of intercessory preoccupation. I think I have experienced it four times in my life, five at most. We don’t want to experience this every other week, for it is an exhausting, all-consuming period of intercession that pretty much wallops the stuffings out of a person while it is happening — so much so, that the last time the Lord took me there, I expressed a concern to Him about whether the strain could affect my health adversely. (He assured me I would be fine.)
For me, this season has sometimes started with a revelatory word, or a combination of something I saw in the natural and a revelatory word. The times I have experienced this have lasted from three days to several months, but the several months stint included a few days of rest here and there. I don’t think it would be physically possible to carry on for a long duration like that without having some rest periods mixed in.
While in the middle of it, typically, I felt detached and barely cognizant of what was going on around me. I was internally focused in prayer, quietly praying in tongues most of the time, outwardly very silent when praying in tongues was not possible. I slept and ate much less than was my normal habit, and even while in a light sleep, seemed to be engaged in prayer — at least, it felt as though prayer was continuous throughout waking and sleeping hours. When people around me tried to engage in conversation, I had to consciously rouse myself out of an outward stupor to respond. I did not want to carry on conversations. In fact it was difficult to do so, because, in a way, I wasn’t really there. I was interceding deeply in the spirit, and my outward ability to function was nearly in sleep-walking mode. It was not a fun time.
During times of intense inward prayer focus, you may appear vacant or distant to onlookers who do not realize what is happening within. You may be grossly misunderstood, and thought to be antisocial or even a little unhinged. I personally took some heat from people who did not understand and who formed some negative ideas of what was going on. Explaining to those who are critical may not be possible.
When you enter into such a season, if you can, closet yourself away until the mission is accomplished. That may not be an option for you. It wasn’t for me. Clue in your immediate family and closest friends to what you are experiencing, even if you are not able to tell them what you are contending for. It will help them to support you and not worry about you. Assure them that it is only a season, and that you will come out the other side into your old normal self again.
Have you experienced this season? I’d like to know!