“O Lord, you are so good,
so ready to forgive,
so full of unfailing love for all who ask your aid.
Listen closely to my prayer, O Lord;
Hear my urgent cry.
I will call to you whenever trouble strikes,
and You will answer me.”
– (Psalm 86: 5-7. NLT).
Christians and Christian Mentors are to “Cry Out” to God
(Note to readers: I broke this blog up into sections so that you can stop when you need to and then continue reading later. I hope this helps those who have only a little time to read in one sitting)
For Christians, prayer should be an everyday part of life. Among our many prayers, we pray for our needs, our family, and for our health, happiness and protection. We even pray for the needs of others. There are times, though, when we need to “cry out” to the Lord for immediate help. We have all been there; the car starts to spin out of control, we feel threatened by a stranger, or someone we know needs immediate physical healing or they will die. It is during those moments of imminent danger and threatening situations that we “cry out” to God.
God wants us to “cry out” to Him. God has said, “Call to Me and I will answer you, and I will tell you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” – (Jeremiah 33: 3. NASV). The Hebrew word for “call” has the meaning of “calling aloud” or “crying out”. In fact, throughout the Bible we can find Scriptures where God encourages us to call out to or “cry out” to Him and to rely on His strength. For example:
“The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; He delivers them from all their troubles.”
– (Psalm 34: 17. NIV).
“Do not fear, for I am with you:
Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, surely I will help you,
Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”
– (Isaiah 41: 10. NASV).
God wants to have an intimate relationship with each of us. To have an intimate relationship or fellowship with God we must communicate with Him. In fact, communication is the key to all intimate relationships and fellowship. For, it is through communication that we let other people see who we really are and how we really feel. So, too, it is through our communication of praise and worship that we show God how much we love and glorify Him. It is also through prayers of communication that we ask things of our Father in Heaven; showing Him that we trust in and have faith in His love and protection. It is only when we bring our requests and praises through His Son, Jesus Christ, that we show the Father and the Son our belief in their love and that we have welcomed the gift of Salvation.
The Power of “Crying Out” to God
Effectual Fervent Prayers!
God wants us to communicate with Him daily, but He also wants us to voice our fervent appeal when we need help. Whether it is fear, trouble, anxiety, panic, or moments of impending disaster, we are to fervently appeal to God through Christ. James the brother of Jesus said that “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.” – (James 5: 16. KJ).
According to Bill Gothard in his book The Power of Crying Out: When Prayer Becomes Mighty, the phrase “effectual fervent” comes from the Greek word “energeo” where we get our word “energy.” When we then add the phrase “availeth much” we get a literal translation: “makes much power available”. In other words, effectual fervent prayer is earnest, energetic, can accomplish much, and is dynamic in its working, or makes tremendous power available.
God has tremendous power. God has the power to change things. Our fervent prayers to God through His Son can effectually accomplish much, because we have put our faith and trust in the One who can help. God has the power to help, and He can change the natural order of things to create miracles, if we truly believe and rely on His strength and power. However, we must pray believing that God will answer and take care of the situation, or we are just speaking empty words.
Remember the story of Peter, the disciple? Well, the disciples were in a boat going from one side of the lake to the other to meet Jesus on the other side. The boat was being buffeted by waves and was a considerable distance from land.
“During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. ‘It’s a ghost,’ they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: ‘Take courage! It is I, Don’t be afraid.’ ‘Lord, if it’s you,’ Peter replied, ‘tell me to come to you on the water.’ ‘Come,’ He said.”
– (Luke 14: 25-29. NIV).
Well, we know the rest of the story. Peter stepped out of the boat and walked on the water, but when he took his eyes off the Lord he started to sink. It was then that Peter cried out “Lord, save me!” Jesus reached out and took Peter’s hand and saved him. Jesus then said, “You of little faith. Why did you doubt?” We, too, can often momentarily doubt. But, we can ask God to give us the faith to believe. For, God not only wants to save us, He wants us to cry out with belief or in faith knowing that He will indeed save us. Perhaps Peter’s doubt arose when he took His eyes off of Christ and looked at the churning water. Surely, though, Peter must have believed enough (even as a grain of mustard seed; see Matthew 17:20.) to “cry out” and ask the Lord to save Him.
Dying to Self-Control
With Faith Believing in God
We have all heard stories of miraculous saves like Peter’s after a person has cried out to God for help. You know, like when a car that was going over a cliff suddenly stopped at the edge of a cliff for no apparent reason; except that the person had cried out to God for help. Perhaps, too, we have heard and even witnessed miraculous healings after people have cried out to God. In all of these incidents, though, someone has cried out with their whole heart that the person would be saved. Certainly, Peter cried out with his whole heart believing Christ could save him. Why is it then that so many of us fail to “cry out” to God with our whole heart? Could it be that in general, we believe that God will answer our prayers, but that specifically we just don’t have the faith required to “cry out” to God with true belief until we finally have nowhere else to turn. Certainly, Peter had nowhere else to turn, so he cried out to Jesus both in belief and with his whole heart.
Sadly, it is often only when we can no longer rely on ourselves or some other person to control a situation that we then turn to God. Do you just turn to God only when you are in dire straits? How would you feel if someone was only your friend when they wanted or needed something from you? Even if you haven’t experienced it personally, we certainly can all imagine that kind of hurt. Perhaps God feels that kind of hurt from us? Fortunately for us, if we are “Saved,” God is always our friend. Even though, it has to hurt God when we neglect to talk to Him or when we fail to glorify Him verbally to others, God still hears our cries and answers our prayers if we are trying to live in obedience to Him and His Son, Jesus Christ. Through Christ, God answers when we “cry out” to Him, because He loves us so very much!
As Christians, we should always want to be God’s friend and to do the things that He wants us to do. We should always strive to live for Christ and let our Christ-light shine out on the world so others will want to know and live for Christ. We get the opportunity to shine our Christ-light even more when we serve the Lord in some type of ministry like Active relational Christian mentoring. Moreover, it is through ARCM that we can help others, i.e. our mentees, learn to cry out to God when this fallen world intrudes on their life. We can even “cry out” with them.
Our desire and need to “cry out” to God is a humble reminder that we cannot do on our own what only God can do. God, through Christ’s intercession on our behalf, will give an answer or bring justice to those who humbly “cry out” to Him. Whether we are praying or truly crying out to God, there are times when we may not think that God’s response was as timely as we would have liked it. Remember, though, that God will respond to our cry in what He determines to be the best schedule for us. Sometimes God’s answer is instantaneous, like when God stopped the car from going over the cliff or when Jesus saved Peter from drowning. At other times the answer may take years to appear. But in every situation, God sees all and knows all; where we only see a small piece of the picture. He knows the best answer and the best time to answer our prayer. It is only when we see God’s answer to our prayer that we can finally see that God knew the best timing and the perfect answer to our prayer. However, even when an answer to a prayer may be “no”, we must have faith and trust that God’s answer is the right answer.
In Faith, Waiting for God to Answer
Sometimes, God answers our prayers and cries instantly, but at other times it is what we experience as we are waiting for His answer that makes us stronger while building our Christian character. Although it took nine years for God to give me an answer to the work-related enemy relationship that I dealt with daily, I grew in patience, understanding, and kindness. (See previous blog for the story about my enemy.). I learned what it was like to be mistreated, so I never want to see anyone else mistreated. Consequently, I will go out of my way to stand up for others and shine the light of Christ out into the world. Through those seemingly long years, I grew in Christian generosity and love.
For nearly ten years I prayed to God for the best way to deal with the situation. But it was when my husband (as my spousal mentor) and I cried out to God and prayed together that I was able to better handle the situation. It was through God’s timing, that I was given a way out of my predicament without just giving up and leaving the school district in the second or third year. Finally in my tenth year, God gave me His answer by showing me that I would need to retire for physical reasons.
Yes, I eventually left the school district, but over the years I had learned a great deal, I had become stronger, and I had set aside money for our future that I would not have been able to do had I just walked out early. Most importantly, my enemy did not get the satisfaction of having run me off, and although she couldn’t understand it, she saw how a Christian could turn the other cheek. However, through all the years that I dealt with my enemy, my husband and I never gave up praying and believing that God would answer my need. Along the way, God grew my character and then He answered my prayers in His timing with my best interest at heart. Furthermore, God watched my enemy to see that she did not harm me. Only when it appeared that she was getting out of hand, did my physical condition deteriorate to the point that I needed to retire.
Jesus Christ told a parable to His disciples to emphasize that they should always pray and “cry out”; never giving up. He told the parable of the widow who constantly went to a judge pleading for justice against an adversary. For some time the judge refused to answer her.
“But, finally, he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming.’ And the Lord said, ‘Listen to what the unjust judge says, And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will He keep putting them off? I tell you, He will see that they get justice, and quickly. …’”
– (Luke 18: 4-8. NIV).
The woman in the above parable cried out to that judge on her own. Perhaps if she had asked someone to “cry out” with her, she might have been able to get the judge to listen and act on her behalf sooner. Like all of us, she could have used a mentor. At the very least, another woman could have given her support and additional courage. Although we are not told, maybe she did have a friend who encouraged her to speak out to this judge.
As Christians, we do know that God can read out hearts and minds. Unlike the judge in the above parable, God not only reads our hearts and minds, but He knows what we need. However, God will often wait until we have cried out to Him before taking action and answering our prayers. For, it is only in crying out that we have finally admitted that we are not capable of taking care of the situation, and that we have nowhere else to turn. We have finally admitted that God is the only One who can help. Perhaps we should have humbled ourselves sooner.
Collective “Crying Out”
“Crying Out” for Your Mentee
If we take time to read the Bible we will discover that in many cases, it was also only when God’s people finally cried out to Him with their collective voices that God answered and sent them help. Remember the Exodus? It was only when the Israelite people humbled themselves to “cry out” to God for help that God “remembered” His promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Hundreds of years before, God had told Abraham that after 400 years He would rescue the Israelites from Egypt. However, God didn’t forget His promise or His people, rather the people had forgotten their God. It was only when the Israelite people remembered God and cried out in recognition of His power and sovereignty that the Israelites were saved from Egypt. Like the Israelites, God wants us to voice our need for Him. He wants us to pray daily and to cry out in desperate times.
There are still just some situations that require more than one person’s prayer. In fact, the Apostle Paul told Christians to “Devote yourselves to prayer, keeping alert in it…” – (Colossians 4: 2. NASV). Obviously, if we devote ourselves to prayer, we are to also pray for others. Interceding in prayer on the behalf of others is, indeed, an important part of a Christian’s life. This means that it is also a very important part of ARCM. Helping another Christian by interceding on their behalf and by crying out to the Lord with them is an awesome way to show our love to our neighbor. Two or more Christians crying out and praying together in humility is powerful too! Indeed, powerful results come when several people, who are in right relationship with God and His Son, Jesus Christ, “cry out” to God.
Throughout the Bible, we find groups of people “crying out to the Lord.” In fact, five times in the book of Acts it says that the Apostles were of one accord, including in their crying out to God. One example is found in Acts 4: 24-31. The disciples had been threatened and were commanded not to speak about Christ by the chief priests and elders. When released, they went to their companions (other disciples), and “they lifted their voices [crying out] to God with one accord … And when they had prayed, the place where they had gathered together was shaken, and they were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak the Word of God with boldness.”
Whether we are crying out to the Lord with our spouse, our mentee, our friend, or with a larger group of people like the disciples, we can focus on an urgent need if we cry out in unison.
All Christians are part of the body of Christ, so when one member is blessed with God’s answer, all believers are blessed too. All the disciples were blessed with the Holy Spirit and were given boldness to speak the Word of God. So, when we praise the Lord together or “cry out” in unison for a need, we are all blessed. The Apostle Paul tells us in the Scriptures that we are to: “With all prayer and petition pray at all times in the Spirit, and with this in view, be on the alert with all perseverance and petition for all the saints.”
-- (Ephesians 6: 18. NASV).
Petition can mean to “entreat, beseech, implore, appeal or plead”. It, too, is a type of crying out to the Lord. In the above Scripture, the Apostle Paul entreats us to pray for all the saints, or in other words, all the Christians. If we need to “cry out” to the Lord or petition for others, we are to gladly do so. With our new Christian self, given to us by the Christ’s cleansing blood, we are to strive to “put on a heart of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” – (Colossians 3: 12. NASV). If we have this type of heart, we should be willing to not only pray for others, but “cry out” or intercede on their behalf before God.
REASONS FOR “CRYING OUT”
The reasons for crying out to the Lord for ourselves or for others are as endless as the needs a human can face on a day to day basis. Certainly, we need hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience to help our fellow Christians when they have a need. But, whatever their need, with Christ’s heart we can be there for them and to “cry out” with them to the Lord. We can “cry out” for relief from an enemy. We can “cry out” for self-control, for faith and for spiritual victory. We can “cry out” for blessings, like in I Chronicle 4: 10 where Jabez prays for blessings and for his territory to be enlarged. At other times, we often find ourselves crying out for healing for ourselves or others. We may even need to “cry out” for someone to be released from demons (See Matthew 15: 21-28).
Many Christians have also cried out for the quenching of a friend’s spiritual thirst so she can learn more about and come closer to Christ. But, the greatest cry of all is for Salvation. The prophet Joel prophesied that , “… anyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved.” – (Joel 3: 32. NLT). Today that has come to fruition. The Lord is Jesus Christ, and anyone who calls upon Jesus can be “Saved”. So, if you want to know Jesus Christ as your Savior, call or “cry out” to Him, and He will hear your cry.
We can cry out to the Lord anytime. We can shout at the top of our lungs, we can simply pray out loud, we can cry out silently, or we can even cry out with our silent tears like Hannah did in I Samuel. God hears us! He is just waiting for our cry. He is waiting for our communication, our humble willingness to prostrate ourselves before Him and for our acknowledgement of our total dependence and reliance upon Him. Then, when He answers our prayers, we are to glorify Him. We are to shout to the world that God did this for us. We are praise Him with all our entire being! We are to tell others of His glorious deeds! We are always to have “… an attitude of Thanksgiving.” – (Colossians 4: 2. NASV).
Today, I cried out to the Lord for my sister who needs a medical device to monitor her fragile health. I cried out to the Lord for my Aunt, who had surgery for a tumor. Thank you Lord for the smooth and quick surgery! I will continue to cry out to the Lord for her to get the report that the tumor is benign. I also cried out for my mother’s smooth recovery from foot surgery. I continue to cry out, too, for our nation and the nation of Israel. I have asked God for Israel’s protection as well as for their people’s salvation. I have prayed and cried out for our nation to turn back to Christ and God. We are the cusp of disaster, and without God’s divine help, our nation is in dire straits. Will you "cry out" for our nation and for Israel with me?
The Greatest Cry of All!
Whether you are Jewish or non-Jewish you may want to know if you will someday go to Heaven. But, there is only one way to get to Heaven! Don’t let anyone fool you or tell you differently, including the devil who often tells people that a loving God wouldn’t let such a good person like you to go to hell. We have a loving God, but He is a just God, who will not tolerate unrighteousness and sin. No one can enter Heaven and live forever with God without first asking Christ to cleanse them of all sin and unrighteousness. Yes, you and I are sinners. We have to be cleansed from all sin and unrighteousness first before we can be in the presence of Almighty God.
The devil is a liar! Moreover, he is betting on you believing His lies. Why? Well, he doesn’t want any person (i.e. one of God’s creation) to go to Heaven. So he tells you lies and gets you to accept the sins of this world as ordinary and okay. He also gets you to accept his worldly ideologies including false philosophies and untruths. Furthermore, he wants you to believe that you are so-o-o good or that you have done so many good things that a good god would not keep you from Heaven (remember, he is using yours and the world's standards of good, as well as his deviousness to give you thoughts of what a loving and “good” god would do). The devil does not want you to know God and His True and Just character.
Next the devil tells you lies about what makes up happiness. You see, the devil doesn’t want any person to be truly happy or peaceful, and he wants you to die and be in misery forever. So while you are alive, the devil either wants you to be miserable and hate your life, or he wants you to think that you are happy the way you are living; doing all the fleshly things of this world in which you seem to find momentary happiness. Just remember: the fleshly lusts and sinful acts of this world can only provide fleeting happiness. Most people have to continue doing more and more sinful things to continue to feel momentary happiness.
The only way to true happiness and peace is through Christ. Christ will cleanse you of all your sins. He will give you a reason to live for Him. In fact, Christ died for your sins so that you could indeed be cleansed of your sins and have true riddance of guilt. But in order to obtain freedom, cleansing, and the right to spend eternity in Heaven, you will need to ask Christ to forgive you of your sins and ask Him to come into your heart. You will need to first repent of your sins. You can do it! You can be Saved! Just call out, "cry out",to Christ and He will answer!
If you truly ask Christ into your heart, then don’t forget to tell someone that you are now a child of God’s,
“If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
– Romans 10:9. NASV).
“And I say to you, everyone who confesses Me before men, the Son of Man will confess him also before the angels of God, but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.”
– (Luke 12: 8-9. NASV.)
I pray that you "cry out" to Christ for Salvation!