“…The Bible makes a distinction between ‘prayer’ and ‘crying out to God.’…What I have noticed…is that He will arrange or allow circumstances to arise that have no solution – and then do nothing to remove the problem. Until I cry out. And not one second sooner!” – Bill Gothard (The Power of Crying Out)
When my son, Nathan, was about 4 years old, I lost sight of him in a department store one day. After realizing he was not in any of the surrounding isles, I became frantic and loudly began to call his name. The longer I went without finding him the louder and more intense my cries became. Eventually I reached a point where I didn’t care about the scene I was making or what others thought of me. I knew I had to find my son!
Crying out comes from a place of desperation where we no longer care about our appearance, protocol, or dignity. I've often heard people say, "I'm just not a vocal person." or "That's just not my personality." The fact is, crying out in prayer has nothing to do with our disposition, personality or preference, and everything to do with the passion of our heart to see God move. It requires a total abandonment of our pride and self-sufficiency. A person who cries out to God is one who realizes the hopelessness of their situation without Him and is desperate enough to not care what others think, or how uncomfortable their cry makes those around them feel. This is the prayer of utter dependence on the One who can act on our behalf and the realization of utter despondence if He chooses not to do so.
Such a prayer renders the right words unnecessary. Romans 8:26 speaks of a condition of desperation in prayer where we do not even know how to pray and all we can do is groan. It is in that wordless groaning that our spirit and God’s Spirit unite and He takes over translating what we cannot verbalize. This agony of the soul gives birth to prayer that moves the heart of God and carries with it the promise of His presence. Isaiah 58:9 promises: “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, 'Here I am.'" Consistent throughout scripture is the fact that whenever God’s people found themselves in overwhelming circumstances, facing impossible obstacles, and were moved to cry out to God in despair, the Lord heard and acted on their behalf. Repeatedly He drew them back to Himself through their troubles and interceded in their situation when they cried out.
Often the Lord allows our hardships and trials for the express purpose of crushing our pride and stoking our desperation until we will get our eyes off of our circumstances and on to Him, and cry out. Do you find yourself in a struggle that is over your head? Know this: your desperation for God must exceed your frustration over your situation. When you reach this point and you find yourself at a loss for words, with no clue what to do, let your cry arise from your heart to His throne and watch what He does. You will find that God was not refusing to act, He was just waiting for you to get out of His way.