In this Spiritual Life UPGRADE, Dawn Wilson urges us to CRY OUT to the Lord. But why?
"We think we don't need God... until we DO!" Dawn says. "Oh, we may not say we don't need Him, but we certainly act like it."
Is that true of you? Come on, be honest.
Dawn continues . . .
I remember how people flocked to their houses of worship shortly after the 9/11 attacks. Suddenly, afraid and confused, so many Americans realized they needed answers and protection "from above." All over the nation, God's children cried out to the Lord.
And God answered from heaven as His people came clean with Him and sought Him. "When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears" (Psalm 34:17). There seemed to be a fresh sweep from heaven as hearts were more sensitive to His Word.
But then after a while, life got back to "normal," didn't it?
We forgot how much we need God. And so many stopped crying out to Him for protection, for help, for anything more than a simple "give us this day our daily bread."
As I'm preparing my heart for the OneCry! simulcast, part of the True Woman 2016 National Women's Conference, I'm considering this whole issue of "crying out." There are many scriptures to direct my thoughts.
How would you answer this question: When do we most need to cry out to the Lord?
Here's what I believe:
1. We need to cry out when we realize we've wandered.
I sense this need when I sing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing"—"Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love".
We wandering sheep so need our Shepherd. The Good Shepherd, Jesus, sacrificed his life for us (John 10:11) and rescued us from spiritual death. But we are so prone to wander away from His loving care.
We wander away into darkness, wickedness, habits and addictions that injure us—body and soul.
We need to run back to the Shepherd's care and cry out to Him: "Bind my wandering heart to Thee."
"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you" (James 4:8).
2. We need to cry out when we're frustrated by our sin.
Have you ever resolved to live for Jesus, and then found yourself in some pit you created by sinful choices?
We need to cry out to the Lord when we struggle and say with Paul: "For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate" (Romans 7:15). Our deliverance is in Christ (Romans 7:24-25).
3. We need to cry out when we understand we are helpless.
Jesus said, "...apart from me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5b).
We are helpless, even when we think we are strong or invincible.
Because we are helpless, we cry out when we are in trouble (Psalm 34:6) and our heart is faint (Psalm 61:2). Jesus understand our weaknesses (Hebrews 4:15), and the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26-27).
4. We need to cry out when we're distressed over life's circumstances.
No matter our situation, no matter our struggle, the Lord desires to be our Refuge.
In Psalm 18, David dealt with his distress in the midst of his enemies by running to the place of protection and rest in God, his rock and fortress.
"In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help," he said (v. 6a). David knew God would be a "shield for all those who take refuge in Him" (v. 30b).
We cry out to God because "...who is God, but the Lord? And who is a rock, except our God?" (v. 31)
Like David, we will discover God can relieve us in our distress, but we must cry out for Him to be gracious and hear our prayer for help (Psalm 4:1).
5. We need to cry out when we need clear answers.
As I write this, so many have told me how they are struggling with how to vote in the coming elections. It's as if we've forgotten God is in control; we've pushed Him to the sidelines and not taken His thoughts into account. This is a huge mistake.
We can spread out ALL our concerns to the Lord, asking Him to give direction. We need His wisdom for family concerns, financial concerns, spiritual concerns, concerns for our nation, etc.
We must not trust our "own understanding" (Proverbs 3:5-6). We must seek and trust the Lord.
"If any of you lacks wisdom," James wrote, "let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him" (James 1:5).
6. We need to cry out when we sense it's "all about me."
Did you notice all the "I" words? This morning the Lord is speaking to me about this.
So many of my prayers are about me, myself and I. And that's sad.
We are not ONLY to cry out before the throne for ourselves (Hebrews 4:16).
We are also urged in scripture to cry out for "all people, for kings and all who are in high positions" (1 Timothy 2:1-2), for God's servants who seek to spread the gospel (Matthew 9:38; Colossians 4:3; 2 Thessalonians 3:1), for fellow Christ-followers (Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 1:9; James 5:16), and even our persecuters—those who attack and oppose us (Matthew 5:44).
How often do I cry out on behalf of others... relatives, friends, churches, neighbors, the poor and needy, prisoners and those in all sorts of "bondage," the Persecuted Church, our corrupt and increasingly godless nation?
God, have mercy.
7. We need to cry out because it can lead us to glorify God.
There is a sense that God desires His people to cry out, and then stand back and watch Him work. And then we have the blessing of praise—the privilege of honoring Him.
God spoke to His people in Psalm 50:15: "...call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me."
Oh that we would honor God and rejoice in Him. In fact, my biggest heart cry is for revival: "Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you?" (Psalm 85:6)
There are no doubt many other reasons we need to cry out to God, but these are a good place to start: in humility, understanding our great need, and desiring to please and honor Him.
Which of these thoughts encourages you to "cry out" to the Lord today?
Dawn Wilson, founder and President of Heart Choices Today, is a speaker and author, and the creator of three blogs: Heart Choices Today, LOL with God (with Pam Farrel), andUpgrade with Dawn. She is a contracted researcher/reviewer for Revive Our Heartsand a writer at Crosswalk.com. She and her husband Bob live in Southern California and have two grown, married sons, three granddaughters and a rascally maltipoo, Roscoe.