“Hear my prayer, Lord; listen to my cry for mercy.” (Psalm 86:6 NIV)
One Tuesday, while kneeling in my usual spot during our noon prayer meeting, I heard a woman’s voice to my left. Her head was in her hands, and she was praying softly. But something about the way she prayed caught my attention. She was talking to God as if he stood five feet away.
“You know, Lord, I’m going to lose that boy to the world, “ she prayed through tears. She started quietly at first, but as her pleading grew stronger, her voice became louder. “I’m going to lose him to the gangs unless you come and help me. I can’t do it by myself.” I could hear the desperation in her prayer. She cried out to God with all the urgency of a heartbroken mom.
“You’ve got to do something, God! You’ve got to do something now!”
I could hear everything she said.
“You know his father is dead and gone,” she reasoned.
There was a pause, and although I couldn’t see her face, I could hear her weeping. “I’m all alone trying to raise him. And you know all the voices out there calling to him. God, you have to help me!” Her tone was so bold, sincere, heartfelt, and intimate. “If you don’t help me, no one can!” she prayed, before her words dissolved into sobs.
Her prayer moved me deeply. I reached over and put my hand on her heaving shoulder and joined her in intercession for her son.
Someone once said the most awesome thing in the world is when a mere human being prays to the Creator of the universe and is heard. I felt that awe as I listened to this woman, in equal parts confidence and desperation, lift her heart up to God and pour out her soul. It was like watching one of the Psalmists crying out for help. When someone prays boldly and desperately like this, an old church catchphrase describes it as “storming heaven.”
I have heard lots of prayers like hers at my church, and they have always moved me. How much more must they move our Father in heaven, who loves us dearly! Desperate and soul-stirring prayers like hers result in answers. When God is sought in desperation, he responds.
Even in hopeless situations…
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Strong through the Storm)
In the first few days of this new year, let’s be encouraged by God’s promise to his people: “Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify Me” (Psalm 50:15).
Read Psalm 86.