Crying Out to God
As I wrote in my last Blog there’s a huge difference between prayer and crying out to God. Unfortunately we’ve reduced prayer to something safe and it is unfortunate because genuine prayer, as we see it in the Bible, is crying out to God.
We can see it in the book of Exodus. The children of Israel were in harsh bondage in Egypt. Their straw has been taken away from them, yet they were commanded to still fill the same quota of bricks. Exodus 5:8 says, “And you shall lay on them the quota of bricks which they made before. You shall not reduce it. For they are idle; therefore they cry out, saying, ‘Let us go and sacrifice to our God.’” By human terms there situation is so hopeless and a cry was all they could muster. This wasn’t a time to simply fold their hands and recite something from memory. No, THIS WAS A TIME TO CRY OUT! They wanted freedom and they wanted God to provide a way of escape.
A cry is significant to God. In that desperate cry we let Him know that we are unable to accomplish anything. It’s a wonderful and marvelous invitation to the God of Creation to come and take over. We’re desperate. We’re at the end of our rope and we cry out.
I love Jeremiah 33:3. God is speaking and He says, “‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’” There are two significant promises in this verse—if we call out (The Hebrew word is qārā, meaning to declare, summon God with boldness and fervor), God promises to answer us and to tell us unsearchable things. In this portion of Jeremiah, the prophet is praying for guidance and God reassures him—answering prayer is one of the best ways in which God shows how mighty He really is! There is no help for troubled hearts like prayer.
Psalm 84:2 says, “My soul longs, yes even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God.” Here we see another Hebrew word, rānan, which means to cry out with a shout. The writer is hungering for God’s presence and he’s so desperate that he shouts a cry for Him. That’s not only deep love; it’s a boldness and an intense desire for God and for the things of God. The Preacher’s Commentary notes, “There is no reserve here. His prayer is vocal and boisterous.”
There is something stirring inside of me. I am so hungry for God’s presence that a quiet, little, tame, safe prayer isn’t going to deliver! There is a time when what is right is a shout!
Crying out to God is saying, Oh God, I am starving for You. I am hungry for You in my life. I am hungry for You in the life of this church. Oh God, Oh God. Then, when you feel like your prayers are dropping on the floor, you realize it’s time to stand and just say Ohhhhhh! A shout, where the Holy Spirit in you begins to pray with groaning that can’t be uttered. Friends, God speaks “shout.” God speaks “groan.” There are times when we cry out with a shout, when we hunger for more of God’s presence.
How about you? Are you ready to cry out to God with a shout? Do you hunger for His presence more than anything? Shout to the Lord.