I came here _________; I’m hoping to leave here _________.
That was the question posed to the True Woman blog team as we met for a time of prayer and encouragement before the first session of True Woman ’16: Cry Out! I believe my answers were “tired” and “revived,” but after the morning’s twelve-hour car ride on a half-hour of sleep, a more honest answer for me might have been like . . .
I came here blank; I’m hoping to leave here, um, not blank?
But as He always does, God had a plan for my weekend in Indy, and in the end, He provided an answer to my question that I never expected in a way that took me by surprise. (Stay tuned for that answer at the end of the post!)
A Reluctant Cry Is a Cry Nonetheless
Last evening, as I re-watched the simulcast (posted here), I reflected back on the journey that brought me to the events of that night. Months earlier, I wrote about my initial feelings of fear and reluctance, but through prayer those fears gave way to great anticipation of how God might use the conference and simulcast to call our hearts back to Him.
On the evening of Cry Out!, I stood in the convention center with all those thoughts bubbling away at the forefront of my mind. What would it be like? Exactly how vulnerable would I have to be? Would I actually have to cry in order to cry out? And then something happened that swept aside all of my reservations, my hesitations, and even my giddy expectation.
We began to pray.
Sisters Together, Hand in Hand, We Are the Same
As Providence would have it, for the course of the day on Friday our little group of rural Midwestern church ladies was surrounded by a delightful mix of Spanish-speaking sisters-in-Christ. Their enthusiasm, intensity, and genuine worship were incredibly encouraging, albeit a little different than what most of us were accustomed to.
We were a group of six, so naturally when asked to break up into triplets (groups of three) and huddles (groups of six) for the simulcast, it made sense that we would stick together. The Father, however, had other plans!
A triplet from the row behind us didn’t have a huddle and asked if they could join us.
“They don’t speak English,” one member commented, referencing the other ladies in her group.
“That’s just fine,” one member of our group replied. “Our God hears.”
And, of course, He did! The hours that followed were so precious. Together, we thanked our Lord for who He is. We repented and asked for forgiveness. We prayed for our own families, churches, and countries. We prayed for one another’s families, churches, and countries.
Our prayers were lifted up in English and in Espanol, but most frequently, in our common language—the unspoken one of hearts that are joined to Christ and, therefore, to each other. I don’t know how many of my group’s prayers our Spanish-speaking sisters understood. And the only Spanish language experience in our group was one member who teaches it at our church’s Christian school. (Unless watching copious amounts of Dora the Explorer counts!)
And would you believe this? It did not matter. At all.
When we prayed, they joined in and murmured, “¡Si, Padre!” and “¡Amén!” Our hearts and voices chimed in agreement with their impassioned pleas. The language barrier meant nothing. Rather it built a bridge between hearts, homes, churches, and nations thousands of miles apart. It was a sweet time of prayer I will never forget. In fact, it was a glimpse of the throne.
One Day, We Will Cry Out Together Again
For that day is indeed coming! A day already set and sealed about which the angels sang in the Revelation of Jesus Christ to His servant John:
And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth” (Rev. 5:9–10).
A day when every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them will say:
“To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” (Rev. 5:13–14).
“Beloved, we are God’s children now,” the apostle John tells us, “and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
Until then, dear sisters, we pray. We cry out. We preach the gospel to ourselves when our hearts are feeling “blank.” We hunt together for the meat of God’s Word, and as Janet Parshall reminded us, we live as grown-up women of God. We must not wait for Jeremiah’s wailing women to come from the generation of our daughters or our granddaughters. We must be the wailing women now, while it’s still called today!
We believe that the Lord will use the conference and the simulcast for our good and for His glory. But one day, one weekend, is not enough. Imagine if Jeremiah Lanphier had stopped after his first lunchtime prayer meeting—If he thought, Well, that’s done. Whew! On to the next thing.
No! He persevered. He continued to pray. And God used his fervency to ignite a flame that continues to this very day. We must not look at “crying out” as something we did that one weekend in September. We must continue the cry, in perpetuity, for our hearts, our homes, and the worldwide Church of Jesus Christ.
I hope that the prayers of the women and nations represented that weekend were a sweet-smelling aroma to the Lord. As we continue to pray, may that same aroma, from locations around the globe, rise to meet Him in the days, months, and years to come.
Thank you, Lord!
I came here burnt-out; I left on fire!
Amen, and Amén, and Amen!
How about you, dear reader? What have you done to make crying out a pattern in your home life? How has God used True Woman '16, the 40 Days of Praying for Your Nation emails, or another conference or experience to strengthen your prayer life? How can we pray for you as, together, we persevere?