Children, whose spirits are designed by God as burden-bearing intercessors, carry (and/or can feel) an intense level of pain. So do children whose spirits are wired by God to process life emotionally first instead of the culturally-approved way to process intellectually first. These children emotionally filter the pain and emotions of their families and people with whom they are in relationship.
A burden of intercession may be for a person, group of people, nation, land, time, or social justice issue. The purpose of the burden is to agree with the Father’s plans for that issue in prayer. Just like a physical burden bearer–such as a horse or donkey–does not carry their burden permanently, a burden-bearing intercessor is not designed by God to carry the pain he or she senses forever. The burden is to be carried to the destination, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is always interceding.
If your child is sensitive to the pain of others or easily distressed when hearing issues concerning injustice, he or she may well be a burden bearer. It is important to distinguish and to reiterate that not all pain they sense is their own. Whether the burden is a personal one, or a burden for a larger issue, parents can teach children to quickly carry it to the Lord Jesus Christ. [Note: It is crucial for parents (grandparents or caregivers) to help their children, and especially their sons, to recognize, to articulate, and to pray through the pain they sense with their spirits. Many adult male substance abusers have the calling of burden bearers or emotional filters, but never received guidance regarding how to release the staggering load of pain they carry. This pain compacted inside, turns into a compressed anger aerosol can or depression. So, they turned to addictions to drown out the massive pain which is their daily reality.]
Kyle* cried profusely when his parents gave away his brother’s dog due to its unbreakable habit of barking all night beneath their window. Noticing that Kyle did not quickly recover to his normal joyous outlook, they gently questioned him. After offering different words to help him describe how he felt, Kyle revealed that he felt a burden of grief (grief means “pain over a loss,” and is not limited to death alone) over his perception that both the dog and his brother were rejected and abandoned (though his brother appeared unaffected by the whole incident). [Note: Parents must cultivate the skill of recognizing and separating pain from their children. Children most likely will not recognize that they are carrying pain for others first; they will assume it is their own pain. Also, parents cannot expect children to automatically use precise words to describe the ways they feel. Most often, it is like playing a game in which the parents hold out “word clues” for their children to select which ones fit the way they feel.] Kyle’s parents led him to pray, taking the burden of abandonment and separation to the Lord Jesus Christ and laying it down at the feet of the Lord Jesus Christ, asking for His will to be done and for realignment to joy, then requesting that the Lord would lift the burden off Kyle. After that time of prayer, Kyle experienced no further grief or sorrow regarding the dog. “Oh what peace we often forfeit, oh what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer,” goes the old hymn that still speaks truth for us today.
A very kind-hearted child, two year old Donnie* enjoyed spending time at his grandmother’s house in the country. After one afternoon at her house, Donnie cried unusually hard when it was time to leave. His parents sensed that something out of the ordinary added to his distress. Having already left with Donnie wailing, “Grandma, Grandma,” they decided to return. Donnie found his grandma, climbed onto her lap, and calmly patted her face. She began to cry. As it turns out, Donnie’s grandma experienced a surge of grief over the recent loss of her husband during Donnie’s visit. Donnie sensed the grief in her spirit through his emotional filter. Though two years old, his spirit needed to minister peace to his grandma. His screaming in the car flowed not from the “terrible twos” but from the distress in his spirit since he could not minister to his grandma. When his spirit sensed that she returned to peace, he felt better. However, Donnie did not feel free to leave until Grandma verbally expressed, “Thank you, I feel better. I bless and release you to go home, Donnie.” At that point, two year old Donnie climbed calmly into the car with his parents for the drive home.
A person who emotionally filters will experience the pain or burdens of family, close friends, co-workers, or other people in the same room. They sense pain from people close in proximity or relationship to themselves. Burden bearers operate the same way, except they may also experience a “sudden burden” from the other side of the world. Their pain is not contingent on proximity in relationship or location. Regardless of where the pain came from, the burdens go to the same destination—the Lord Jesus Christ! [Note: God did not design His burden bearers or emotional filters to absorb or to filter all pain from all sources. Some families find it beneficial to pray for the Lord Jesus Christ to shield them from picking up burdens or filtering emotions before they enter a potentially stressful situation.]
excerpt from Perfect Peace by Crystal Wade, copyright 2010