If you’re like me, there are times when you feel like your prayers are falling on deaf ears. Your theology tells you that God always hears our prayers, but you feel as if they were not getting any higher than the ceiling.
Of course there could be many reasons our prayers are not answered. There could be unconfessed sin or impure motives, or we could be neglecting to ask for God’s will to be done in the matter. But what about those times when our motive is pure and we desire his perfect will, why does it seem that our prayer still seems impotent?
I want to suggest a possible solution. If we examine the prayer life of the saints throughout Scripture there is a consistent thread running through many of their prayers. They knew the principle of crying out to God. Our examples in Scripture lead us to believe that the most often mode of prayer was a verbal and vocal “cry out to God.” The examples in Scripture are numerous.
“Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know” (Jeremiah 33:3)
“Evening and morning and noon, I will pray, and cry aloud and He will hear my voice” (Psalm 55:17)
“The eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their cry.” (Psalm 34:15)
“I cried unto the Lord with my voice, and He heard me…” (Psalm 3:4)
In each of the above verses the Hebrew words for “cry” always noted a verbal crying out. These are just a few of the verses found throughout Scripture that indicate the importance of verbally crying out to God in prayer.
Is it absolutely necessary to verbally cry out to God in order for Him to hear and answer our prayer? No! God hears and answers our silent, non-verbal prayers. He even knows the thoughts and intents of our heart before we can even verbalize it.
In Scripture He heard the silent prayer of the woman with the issue of blood who touched His robe and was healed. He heard Hannah as she silently prayed for a son in the temple. He heard the silent prayers of the deaf and healed their deafness.
The issue here is not “does God hear our silent prayer” because we know He hears everything. But the point is that God most often responds to our deepest, passionate pleas. It seems as if the pattern of Scripture is that God will not answer some of our prayers until we are willing to cry out to Him with our deepest and most sincere cry of our heart.
Why do you think the Lord lets a situation get to the point that He will only respond when we cry out to Him? I believe there are at least four reasons why God wants us to learn to cry out to Him in prayer.
- Crying out is an act of humility. Verbalizing our prayer to God helps us recognize our heart’s condition. Our words will reveal the lack of genuine sincerity and humility. It sort of puts our prayer in the category of the Publican’s eloquent prayer or the sinner’s cry for help.
- Our prayer is more focused. James says that the “…the effective and fervent prayer of a righteous man accomplishes much.” (James 5:16)
- Fosters utter dependence. He wants us to utterly depend on Him. If there is any hint of self-reliance then God can’t help us. Passionately crying out to God indicates that we are helpless without Him.
- It’s about fervency. There is a fervency that is present when we cry out to God that is absent when we pray silently. It’s like attempting to keep a child from running in the street. You tell them calmly and softly, but because of your passive tone they don’t sense the danger. But the closer they get to the road the more verbal and passionate you get. They sense your passion and danger and quickly run away from the street. In a like manner God hears and sees the fervency of your heart and responds.
Calling or Crying out to God is not a formula for prayer. It is a matter of learning how to pour your heart out to God. It is establishing a belief system that tells us that prayer really works, that it is a supernatural act of God’s intervention and blessing in our life.
May we be known as men and women of God who know and practice crying out to God?