Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He delivered them out of their distresses. And He led them forth by the right way, That they might go to a city for a dwelling place…
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death, And broke their chains in pieces…
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, And He saved them out of their distresses. He sent His word and healed them, And delivered them from their destructions…
Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, So that its waves are still.
- Psalm 107:6-7,13-14,19-20,28-29
Tuesday, I began an experiment to see the Lord do a breakthrough in my prayer life. I’ve been listening to a series on prayer by Pastor James Macdonald and the Sunday before last he said he was doing another 40 days to continue the work the Lord has started and I felt like I had another chance to get in the game. Well I had been thinking about prayer and studying prayer, but I resisted actually doing what he had said to do on a consistent basis.
Ever done that? Say, “I wish things would change – God show me what to do – and then don’t do what He shows you and be frustrated that things don’t change?” So I surrendered and said to God, “OK, I will obey and see what You will do.” I resisted because they sounded too simple and some things are just not my natural personality to do.
See, nothing really profound here and how can doing these simple things really bring about a breakthrough? Get alone, ok that one was easy, that’s what I do all the time, check....
Kneel down – oh my knees hurt, it’s awkward, etc. So I modified different ways to at least get me in the position of humility, half-check. Out loud – This is where I will spend the rest of my time and come back to this one. With a list – I’ve made lists before and it becomes so overwhelming, which then discourages me, because I will never get through the list every day. But this time, Pastor James said he had 5 major things that he was praying for God to move upon, so that’s the list I wrote, seven things that are consistently on my heart and that I want to see God to breakthrough. By faith – believing God will answer and will direct my prayer from just the words on my list to a deeper relationship.
Back to out loud. Lately the things that have been stressing me out, I have spent a lot of time thinking about and running through my head a lot, but very little time speaking out loud to the Lord about them. When I would pray, it would start off as a simple help me Lord and then silence as I thought about my problem, but I had stopped talking and then suddenly 15 minutes had gone by and nothing had changed in my spirit, because I wasn’t actually praying about it, simply replaying the problem.
But it is in the crying out, that prayer truly happens. And it was that phrase that I kept focusing on.
“In my distress I called upon the Lord, And cried out to my God; He heard my voice from His temple, And my cry came before Him, even to His ears. - Psalm 18:6
He heard my voice, and that means it has to be out loud. So I returned to doing this again in my prayer time and I noticed the first blessing was it kept my mind focused on actually praying rather than stewing. And as I had my list in front of me, God would change up the variety and keep things from being just routine as I would begin with a different item on the list each day. I would begin praying about one thing to the Lord and He would keep expanding the conversation and bring passion to my praying or remind me of Scripture to pray back to Him. And as I would finish, I would actually experience peace that I had really talked with God, not just given Him a checklist of things to work on.
Over and over again in the Word of God, it talks about the people crying out to the Lord and then God intervening and answering their cries. As I looked up scripture, there were so many, but here are just some.
…Then the children of Israel groaned because of the bondage, and they cried out; and their cry came up to God because of the bondage. – Exodus 2:23
So he cried out to the Lord, and the Lord showed him a tree. When he cast it into the waters, the waters were made sweet. – Exodus 15:25
So Moses cried out to the Lord, saying, “What shall I do with this people? They are almost ready to stone me!” And the Lord said to Moses, “Go on before the people, and take with you some of the elders of Israel. Also take in your hand your rod with which you struck the river, and go. – Exodus 17:4-5
Then the people cried out to Moses, and when Moses prayed to the Lord, the fire was quenched. - Numbers 11:2
When we cried out to the Lord, He heard our voice and sent the Angel and brought us up out of Egypt. - Exodus 20:16
And Asa cried out to the Lord his God, and said, “Lord, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O Lord our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!” So the Lord struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. – 2 Chronicles 14:11
And they were helped against them, and the Hagrites were delivered into their hand, and all who were with them, for they cried out to God in the battle. He heeded their prayer, because they put their trust in Him. – 1 Chronicles 5:20
…Yet when they returned and cried out to You,You heard from heaven; And many times You delivered them according to Your mercies. - Nehemiah 9:28
Because I delivered the poor who cried out, The fatherless and the one who had no helper. – Job 29:12
And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him. – Matthew 20:30-34
And just to drive this point home to me personally, I had 3 different encounters with women about crying out in prayer this past week. The first one, I asked her to pray with me and to speak out loud to the Lord her burdens. It was the first time I got to hear her pray with me. And she wound up crying during her prayer, but I know God ministered to her through that. Another friend as we were praying together, I started crying for her burdens, which then started her crying, but we had such a powerful prayer time filled with the Holy Spirit. A third woman was a tenant sharing her burden about an upcoming surgery and being afraid and me sharing just the phrase that Jesus wants us to cry out to Him, caused her to burst into tears. I cannot explain why it matters so much to the Lord and to our own hearts to speak out loud our prayers, but God’s word and my own experiences cannot be denied. Maybe it’s even more so important for us as women, because we are blessed so much when we get to share our hearts with another and to hear words that bless us in return.
I have seen the Lord answer my prayers so powerfully this week of my “experiment” that it fuels me to continue on and increases the ability to pray by faith and see God move, and ultimately that’s why we pray – to see God answer. See the pattern of how God works and trust that He will do the same in your life too. Cry out to your God – out loud and see what He will do and bless His name as He works in yours and others lives.
Here’s the teaching series on prayer.