Revive Our Hearts Podcast

— Audio Player —

When We’re in Trouble

Season:  Crying Out   Buy

Dannah Gresh: Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth says crying out to the Lord is an act of faith.

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth: Does God seem so far away from you right now in your trouble? Believe His promise that when you call upon Him, He is near whether you feel it or not.

Dannah: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth author of Brokenness: The Heart God Revives, for October 6, 2020. I’m Dannah Gresh.

Nancy is continuing in the series, “Crying Out.”

Nancy: I remember when I was a college student, I went through a breakup with a boyfriend, and I called my dad to tell him about it. He must have sensed the tears, the emotions, and I remember him saying to me, “Honey, do you want me to come down?” (I was living in Virginia at the time.) “Do you want me to come down and be with you?” My dad heard my cry, as parents do with their children. Right?

So you think about, as a mama, when your baby cries. He or she may be far away, but you hear. When you hear that cry, you stop what you’re doing, and you run to their side. That’s a parent’s heart, and that’s the heart of our heavenly Father. When He hears His children cry out to Him, He says, “I’m going to respond. I’m going to do something about that.”

We’re talking in these days about how desperate times call for desperate prayers.

There’s a verse in Psalm 50 that we referenced in the last program, and I just want to read it again here. Psalm 50, verse 15, God says:

Call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.

We looked last time at this pattern, this principle you see woven through all of the Scripture. God’s people find themselves in trouble, in desperate circumstances, desperate situations. And what happens? They lift their eyes up, and they cry out to the Lord. They’re helpless. They have nowhere else to turn, so they cry out to the Lord.

And the Scripture tells us that God hears when His children cry, and God acts. He delivers them. Then the result is that He is glorified. People see what God has done, and they go, “Wow! He is an amazing heavenly Father. He’s so powerful.”

There’s several Hebrew words that are used in the Old Testament to speak about crying out or calling out to the Lord, but usually they refer to crying out for help. It’s often in times of pain, or distress, emergency, need. (As I said in the last program, if you don’t need an ambulance, you don’t call 9-1-1. But when you call, that ambulance is going to come racing to the scene of need in response to your cry.) Some of those Hebrew words mean “to roar, to shout, to yell, to shriek” (from anguish or from a sense of danger).

Our crying out to the Lord is sending up a flare. It’s a distress signal. “We’ve got trouble down here!” It means to call out loudly in order to get someone’s attention. So to call upon the Lord is to ask God to act, and it’s to expect that He will, that He will respond.

Most often when Old Testament believers called on the name of the Lord—beginning in the book of Genesis, where you read this for the first time—they were in a desperate situation where only God could help. The context was usually a critical need. Their prayer was prompted by the fact that they recognized their need, and their prayer was directed to the One who was able and willing to respond and to help them.

We read in Psalm 34, verse 6 (one of my dad’s favorite verses in the Scripture): 

This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles.

When my dad would talk about the Lord finding him and bringing him to faith when he was a rebel in his mid-twenties, he would use that verse. “This poor man cried out, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.”

Psalm 81, verse 7, you see this pattern. “You called in trouble, and I delivered you,” God says.

So God often creates or allows circumstances to come into our lives that are beyond our control, beyond what we can manage, in order to bring us to the end of ourselves, where there is no human way out, no human solution so that we will cry out to the Lord.

And you see in Scripture different kinds of crying out to the Lord

  • You see sometimes where they’re crying out for mercy because we have sinned.
  • Other times you see that they’re crying out for help because we are suffering. 

Now, suffering at the end of the day is all the result of a sinful world, but sometimes your suffering is all of the sin of others.

Whether you’re crying out for mercy because you have sinned, or you’re crying out for mercy because we have sinned corporately against the Lord, or you’re crying out for help because you or we are suffering, it’s still crying out to the Lord.

I got a text and then a call yesterday morning from a friend who is in a desperate situation regarding some of her children. It is an extremely complex, messy situation. It involves members of her extended family, her husband’s business. I’m listening to her unpack what’s going on, and I’m thinking, I have no idea what to tell this woman. And she’s saying, “I have no idea what to do!”

Here’s a mama in distress because there are circumstances that are hurting her children, hurting her family, destroying her family, and having the potential, no matter what she does, of being even greater havoc and wreckage.

Now, there were a few things that were clear as she talked. I believe that she’s in a situation where she needs to bring in civil authorities. I shared from God’s Word how God (Romans 13) has given human government to protect the righteous and to punish the wicked evil doers, and that this is an institution of God for our good. There’s some steps she needs to take. I also believe that she needs to bring in a trained, wise, godly counselor to help them navigate what is going to be a long, hard road, at best.

But as we talked, I knew that there was only one thing beyond those and trying to encourage her, trying to love her, giving her a few practical suggestions, but I said, “Here’s what I know I can do: I can cry out on your behalf.” And we prayed. We cried out together to the Lord for this woman, for her precious children, for her family that is hurting so deeply—crying out for mercy and crying out for help.

Let me encourage you to turn in your Bible to Psalm 55. I want you to see here a phone call, as it were, from a man who was in distress. I’m so thankful that in the Scripture people of God let us see into their hard times. David was a great man of God, a great king, had an intimate walk with God. I’m so glad that we get glimpses into the hard places of his life because then we say, “The God who met with him in trouble is the God who will meet with me when I am in trouble.”

The context of this psalm—we won’t walk through the whole thing—is that David’s loyal friends (or so he thought they were) have turned against him. He’s experiencing pain and fear and a desire to get out to escape.

Look at verse 4 of Psalm 55. He says: “My heart is severely pained within me.”

And as I read this, some of you are going to be saying, “I could have written this psalm. I could write it right now,” because it describes perhaps what you’re going through. He says, 

My heart is severely pained within me, and the terrors of death have fallen upon me. Fearfulness and trembling have come upon me, and horror has overwhelmed me. So I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest. Indeed, I would wander far off, and remain in the wilderness (vv. 4–7 NKJV). 

(It says, “Selah,” there—just stop, think about this.)

As I read that passage, I think of how simple life would be if it weren’t for people. (Sounds of laughter.) Haven’t you ever wished that God would call you to the uninhabited regions of the world? You say, “I could be really godly there!”

I wish I had wings as a bird. I could fly away. I’d be at rest. I would wander off, and I would remain in the wilderness. I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest. (v. 8).

There are people in the United States of America in the last weeks who’ve experienced literal, physical weather patterns that have caused storms and tempests and floods and fires in their lives and have lost their homes and their belongings. Sometimes it’s literal, sometimes it’s metaphorical for other kinds of storms.

If you’re not where David just described right now, you have been, or you will be. But then look ahead to verse 16: “As for me,” David says, “I will call upon God”—I’ll cry out. I’ll call upon God.

So the Scripture teaches us to cry out to the Lord in every time of desperation and need. When we’re in trouble, when there is danger, when there are desperate or impossible circumstances—cry out.

Psalm 18, verse 6: “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried out to my God.”

And then we see in Scripture that God especially hears the cries of certain kinds of people.

God hears the cries of widows and orphans who are afflicted, Scripture tells us.

It tells us that God hears the cries of workers whose employers take advantage of them and treat them unjustly. God hears their cry.

The Scripture says that God hears the cry of the poor and the destitute. Psalm 72, verse 12: “He will deliver the needy when he cries, the poor also, and him who has no helper” (NKJV).

You feel marginalized? You feel, “No one cares. No one knows. I’m invisible to the world, but my needs are so great.” The Scripture says you’re not invisible to God. He will deliver you when you cry—“the poor also, and him who has no helper.” He will be your helper.

But we can cry out to the Lord, not only in these times of distress and impossible, desperate circumstances, but we can cry out to Him when we’re tempted—tempted to sin. And we say, “That temptation is too strong for me. My spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak. I’m going to sin, Lord, if You don’t help me. I need You.”

So we pray the Lord’s prayer, “Lord, deliver us from temptation. Keep us from the evil one.” Bring God with you into that temptation. Don’t just go in secretly, sin, and say, “I can’t get help.” No! When you’re tempted, lift it up, bring it into the light, and say, “Lord, I’m tempted to do this right now.” Tell Him about it. Walk into the light. Cry out to Him, and He will help you.

We can cry out to Him when we need guidance, when we need direction. We have no idea what to do, how to solve a problem, where to go next, what job to take, where to live, what house to buy. When you need direction, cry out to the Lord. He gives wisdom to those who ask Him.

We can also—and I’m so glad for this—we can also call out to Him on behalf of others who are in need. It’s not just our own needs that we're crying out about during this month of October as we’re talking about crying out to the Lord. That’s our theme. We’re joining together to cry out—not just for our own needs, but also for the needs of others.

There’s this wonderful passage in 1 Kings chapter 17, where God sent His prophet Elijah in a time of famine—desperation—to, not just some wealthy patron’s house, but to a poor, destitute widow in Zarephath whom God used to provided food and a place to live for the prophet Elijah during this time of scarcity. God provided miraculously, not only for his needs, but for her needs in the process.

And then the day came, we read in this chapter, when the widow’s only son died. And verse 20 tells us, “Then Elijah cried out to the Lord and said, ‘O Lord my God, have You also brought tragedy on the widow with whom I lodge, by killing her son?’ And he stretched himself out on the child [that lifeless body] three times, and he cried out to the Lord” (vv. 20–21 NKJV).

He knew, though he was a prophet, anointed and appointed by God, that he wasn’t the one who could solve this problem for this woman. He knew that God could, so he became a mediator, so to speak, and he interceded. He placed himself between God and that woman on the body of that lifeless boy, and he cried out to the Lord.

And he said, "O Lord my God, I pray, let this child's soul come back to him." Then the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came back to him, and he revived (vv. 21–22 NKJV).

Whew! I think of how many parents we all know . . . Maybe you’re one of those parents. . .who have children who are far from the Lord—rebels, prodigals—destroying themselves with various pleasures of this world that they think will bring them satisfaction, but they’re self-destructing. These mamas are crying out to the Lord. These dads are crying out to the Lord.

But what an incredible thing for those moms and dads to have others who cry out on their behalf and say, “Lord, I’m pleading with You for the soul of this child. Lord, so-and-so (name the child, name the parents) they need you”—even as I cried out yesterday with that mama for her precious children who are experiencing the consequences of the sins of others. “Lord, would You spare these children? Would You resurrect to new life that which others have tried to kill in them?”

God hears; God answers when we cry out to Him.

Let me just back up there a moment. How many more prodigals do you think we would see restored to a place of walking with Christ, how many miracles do you think we might see if we would take seriously this call to cry out to the Lord on behalf of our own needs as well as the needs of others?

We sometimes think, as women who are walking with the Lord that, “We’re just powerless. What can we do against such a great enemy in our world?” Well, we can cry out to a God who hears and who answers the cries of His children.

Back to Psalm 55, I left off in verse 16. I want to finish that verse and read the next one. After describing the terrors he was experiencing, the horrors, the challenges of his difficult circumstances, David says, 

As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and at noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice (NKJV).

I want you to just maybe draw a circle around these two verses in your Bible, and I want to spend the rest of our time in this session just unpacking those two verses.

First of all, David says, “I will cry out to the Lord.”

We said yesterday that our natural tendency is to cry out first to others, and we kind of come to the Lord when nobody else is able to help us. David says, “I’m going to cry out (first) to the Lord.”

You see this over and over again in Scripture:

To You I will cry, O Lord my Rock.” (Ps. 28:1 NKJV)

O Lord my God, I cried out to You, and You healed me. (Ps. 30:2 NKJV)

I cried out to You, O Lord; I say, "You are my refuge." (Ps. 142:5)

(And for those of you who are furiously trying to get all those references, let me just tell you you can get all of them on the transcript to today’s program at ReviveOurHearts.com.)

“I cried out to You.” Who do you call when you need help? Who do you turn to first? Do you call your mom? Do you call your mate? Do you call a girlfriend? Do you call your therapist? Do you call your pastor? “To You, O LORD, I will call.” Make God your first resort—not your last.

And then we see in this passage that we need to cry out persistently—“evening and morning and at noon I will pray” (Ps. 55:17 NKJV).

And you see again this theme through the Psalms:

Be merciful to me, O Lord, for I cry to You all day long. (Ps. 86:3 NKJV)

O Lord, God of my salvation, I have cried out day and night before You. (Ps. 88:1 NKJV)

Persistence in crying out to the Lord—not just one cry, not just one and done. “I cried out to the Lord, and He didn’t come and answer, so I give up on that and then go back to my normal, overwhelmed life.” Keep crying out!

I tell you, mamas get this. Mothers whose children are in trouble get this. There’s something I’ve seen that’s in mothers, and that’s an impulse to pray, to cry out to the Lord, and to keep crying out. Grandmothers have this, too. Keep crying out. Boy, we all need that—crying out persistently.

We see in verse 17 here in Psalm 55: “I will pray and cry aloud”—crying out to the Lord with our voice. Again, you see this in other passages.

Psalm 3, verse 4: “I cried to the Lord with my voice, and He heard me from His holy hill.” (Ps. 3:4 NKJV).

Now, God is not hard of hearing. You don’t need to scream and yell for God to hear you. He can hear a whisper or a whimper, but He wants to hear us pray. There’s something about vocalizing, verbalizing what’s in our hearts that I think is an important part and often missing, at least in my own life, about prayer. And I’m challenged as I read these verses:

Hear, O Lord, when I cry with my voice! (Ps. 27:7 NKJV)

I cried to Him with my mouth. (Ps. 66:17 NKJV)

I cried out to God with my voice and He gave ear to me. (Ps. 77:1 NKJV)

“I cry out to the Lord with my voice;” [Do you see a pattern here?] With my voice to the Lord I make my supplication. I pour out my complaint before Him; I declare before Him my trouble.” (Ps. 142:1 paraphrased)

When’s the last time God heard your voice—or mine—crying out to Him about the things that are on our hearts that we desperately need Him for? This is one of the joys of praying together with other people because we use our voices to cry out to the Lord. But whether alone or together, we need to cry out aloud.

And then this passage tells us we need to cry out in faith.

David says, “The Lord shall save me, and He shall hear my voice.”

He believes. His circumstances are telling him, “You’re gone! You’re done! It’s over! You’ll never get out of this circumstance.” When he looks around, that’s what sight tells him. But faith says, “When I cry, the Lord will hear, and He will save me.” He’s saying that when he can’t see the answer. That’s faith.

Psalm 9, verse 12, says, “He does not forget the cry of the humble” (NKJV).

When you pray, do you pray in faith, believing that?

The Lord is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. (Ps. 145:18 NKJV)

Does God seem so far away from you right now in your trouble? Believe His promise that when you call upon Him, He is near—whether you feel it or not.

He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He also will hear their cry and save them. (Ps. 145:19 NKJV)

Prayer says, “Lord, I lay hold of Your promises. Though everything looks exactly the opposite of what I’m asking for, I’m believing that You are hearing, and that in Your way, You will hear and answer.”

And so during this month of October, we’re calling to women around the world—men can join, too—but we’re calling to women to join together in crying out to the Lord and lifting up our voices, persistently, earnestly, in faith, believing that when we pray, God hears, and God answers.

I want to encourage you to take advantage of a resource that our team has developed: 31 Days of Crying Out Together. You can get this email in your inbox every day for the rest of the month, and in the archives you can pick up the ones you may have missed. But each day it’s just a short devotional and then some prompts for how to pray.

We’re going to be praying together, around the world, different time zones, different languages perhaps, but praying together for God to come in these desperate days and meet the needs of His children.

Go to ReviveOurHearts.com, and you can get more information about how to get that “31-Day Cry Out! Prayer Challenge.

Ladies, as we cry out to the Lord in these days—and beyond—we’re expressing desperation. We’re expressing need. We’re at the end of our rope. We cannot solve our own problems or our world’s problems, but God can.

  • We’re expressing helplessness. There’s nowhere else to turn; there’s no one else who can help.
  • We’re expressing humility. We are utterly unable to solve the problem ourselves.
  • We’re expressing that we are dependent on Him and Him alone to deliver us in these desperate days.
  • And we’re expressing faith—confidence that God will hear, and He can help.

As we cry out to God in our time of trouble, He’s going to increase your faith. It takes faith to cry out, but then as you cry out, and you see God at work in your circumstances and in your world, that increases your faith and the greatness and the goodness of God.

And as we cry out, it takes us into the realm of the supernatural. We see what only God can do. Certainly nonbelievers, but I think even most Christians live in the realm of the natural most of the time. We only see what we can do—collectively. “If we vote, if we do this, if we do that, we’re going to solve these problems.” But when you pray, you enter into the realm of the supernatural, and you see what God can do.

As we cry out, God is going to give us testimonies to share with others about His faithfulness and His goodness.

And as we cry out together, God is going to give us greater opportunity to make much of Him, to glorify Him, and that’s the whole purpose of crying out to Him.

Is there anything you want to say in response to what you’ve been hearing?

Woman 1: For me, it was a good challenge and a reminder to be praying out loud. I think so often in my busyness or in my agenda I think, Boy, I’m praying all day long—these little popcorns. But something about that challenge, the reminder today: Praying out loud also makes me stop and focus on who I’m speaking to and the focused and deliberate words that I’m crying out. So that was good for me today to be reminded: Pray out loud.

Nancy: It was good for me, too.

Woman 2: That's what the Lord spoke to me about as well, crying out loud, and not only crying out loud on your own, but with other believers as well. I have a prodigal that has been a prodigal for many years. I started a prodigal group, and we meet faithfully together each week, crying out for each other’s kids. It’s already been such a blessing. Some of them have come back, but some of them are still out there.

Just being able to see the Lord is still working in and through the situations. We can give Him the glory when we see that one come back, and we say, “Look at what God has done!” And so that crying out together is so important; to be able to give Him the glory when we see Him at work.

Nancy: Yes. You and your group are learning the importance of crying out persistently—not giving up when you don’t see the answer quickly—but continuing to pray day and night for as long as it takes.

Woman 2: Yes.

Nancy: Don’t grow weary. Keep praying.

Dannah: Oh, wow! Does that ever resonate with my heart. You know as we’ve gotten further into the year 2020, my longing to live with the supernatural power that I read about in the New Testament is growing. Are you feeling that, too? That’s Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth reminding us that we were made to live supernaturally.

In a moment she’ll be right back, but first, I want to invite you to join me and Nancy and women from all across the globe as we cry out to God in a special prayer challenge this month. We’re asking you to commit with us to pray every day from now until October 31. Why? Because desperate times call for desperate prayers.

I hope you’ll go right now to ReviveOurHearts.com to sign up to learn more about this prayer challenge. Each day we’ll send you an email to encourage you and to guide you in your prayers. Again, that’s ReviveOurHearts.com where you can sign up for the Cry Out! Prayer Challenge, or call us at 1–800–569–5959.

Now, I sure hope, if you were encouraged today, that you’ll join us tomorrow when Nancy will challenge us to keep crying out when God doesn’t seem to hear. But right now, she’s back to close our program.

Nancy: Throughout this month we’re inviting different ones of our Revive Our Hearts family and team, listeners, to cry out on each of our broadcasts, to lead us in crying out to Him. Today we’re joined by my longtime friend Erin Davis, who’s one of our Revive Our Hearts’ team members. She heads up all of our content. You see her work on our websites. You hear her as the host on our Grounded podcast, video program now, weekly, starting again just this week.

Erin Davis is joining us today to lead us in crying out to the Lord. But as she cries out, I want to encourage you not to just be a spectator. Oh Lord, thank You that there are praying people like Erin Davis or Leslie Bennet we heard from yesterday, others we’ll hear from this month, but I want you to join. I want to join. And just, if you can, stop what you’re doing right now and just join in crying out together to the Lord, believing that He is hearing, and in His way and in His time, He will answer.

And hello, Erin. Thank you for joining us, and thank you for leading us as we cry out together to the Lord.

Erin Davis: Jesus, You’re the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. You call the stars out one by one, and not one of them is missing. Your Word tells us that we’ve only seen the fringes of what You can do, so who could we cry out to who is like You?

And, yes, Lord, we cry out for mercy. I am a woman of unclean lips, and I live in a land with people of unclean lips. We need your mercy. And, yes, Lord, we cry out for help. It seems like there is trouble on every side.

But, Lord, as I’ve been listening to Nancy teach, You have shown me by Your Spirit that it is not the external storms that keep me from crying out to You, it’s the inner storm that keeps me from crying out, Lord—the storm of my pride which says, like that two-year old, “I can do it on my own.”

The storm of self-sufficiency which we’ll try to do everything in my own strength because I don’t want anyone to see how truly weak I am.

The storm of immediacy, “I want an answer, and I want it now,” and frankly, Lord, sometimes You’re just too slow for me, and I don’t want to wait for the answer that comes from You.

And so, Lord, if we’re going to cry out to You, it has to start on the inside, in our hearts, Lord. We have to acknowledge that we’ve been crying out elsewhere and that it hasn’t worked. So, Lord, even as I call my sisters around the world to join me in crying, I start again with repentance, that I don’t cry out first and often.

Lord, I pray that You would continually remind all of us around the world who are making this commitment to cry out in October that it starts with us. Yes, we want to see thousands, millions of women crying out, but those millions of women are made up by one woman in her living room, in her bedroom, maybe in her church sanctuary, crying out to You.

So, Lord, I just tell You again—I want to be the one. I want to cry out to You in these days. And I’m so grateful for the reminder that I can, and when I do, You respond.

We love You. We cry out to You, and it’s in Your holy, holy, holy name that we pray, amen.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth wants your default to be crying out to God when you’re in trouble. Our program is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the ESV unless noted otherwise.

*Offers available only during the broadcast of the podcast season.

About the Speaker

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth has touched the lives of millions of women through Revive Our Hearts and the True Woman movement, calling them to heart revival and biblical womanhood. Her love …

Read More