The Power of Crying Out: When Prayer Becomes Mighty

The Power of Crying Out: When Prayer Becomes Mighty

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by Bill Gothard

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When members of the early church cried out to God in urgent need, the place shook with the power of their supplication. In this compelling vision for modern-day supplication, Bill Gothard recognizes the key truth that only God's almighty power can rescue His children in times of distress. Using illustrations from Scripture and testimonies from everyday people, Gothard


When members of the early church cried out to God in urgent need, the place shook with the power of their supplication. In this compelling vision for modern-day supplication, Bill Gothard recognizes the key truth that only God's almighty power can rescue His children in times of distress. Using illustrations from Scripture and testimonies from everyday people, Gothard demonstrates the power of crying out -- and how God can shake the world of those who cry out to Him today.

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The Crown Publishing Group
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LifeChange Books
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Random House
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2 MB

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Chapter One

Loud and Clear

After knowing the Lord Jesus Christ and teaching and studying His Word for many years, it was only recently that I made what was for me a life-changing discovery.

I saw that the Bible makes a distinction between “prayer” and “crying out to God.”

What I have noticed since that time is that He will arrange or allow circumstances to arise that seem to have no solution—and then do nothing to remove the problem.

Until I cry out.

And not one second sooner!

Each situation seems so hopeless, and sometimes a cry seems so futile. Yet this is precisely the setting God wants in order to demonstrate His loving care and His powerful hand of protection.

Sometimes a cry will bring freedom from emotional bondage; in other cases, God will provide healing from a dread disease, help in a moment of grave danger, or clear direction in a season of deep perplexity.

In every circumstance, the need to cry out is a humbling reminder of my total inability to accomplish anything significant for God. And the result of crying out is a wonderful demonstration of His supernatural power to achieve all that is needed.

His promise to the prophet so long ago is just as true for us in these uncertain days of the twenty-first century:

“Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.” (Jeremiah 33:3)

Incredible as it seems, the Creator of the universe desires an intimate, loving fellowship with the people He created. A vital component of that fellowship, as we will discover in these pages, is the actual voicing aloud to Him of our need for Him—particularly in times of great trouble.

In moments of fear, anxiety, and trouble, the right step toward experiencing God’s powerful deliverance and protection is to simply cry out—to use our voice in fervent appeal for His help.

All of this may be something of a surprise to you. You may be thinking, But why is that necessary? Doesn't Scripture tell us that God knows our hearts? When we utter a prayer in our heart or mind, surely there's no critical need to express aloud what God already knows.

That’s all true, of course. He does know our hearts. And He can hear the faintest whisper for help rising from the deepest places of our spirit.

And yet it’s strange….

As we survey the Bible with our eyes and hearts wide open, we can’t help seeing an unmistakable principle and pattern. God’s people, in their time of need, cry out with their voices for His help, and He promptly answers with His saving power.

This doesn’t happen once or twice, but over and over again.

But it isn’t just people in the pages of Scripture who experience this phenomenon. It’s still happening to this very day.

A Boldness Takes Over

The Dallas Morning News recently carried the following article by columnist Steve Blow, under the headline, "Gunman Faces off with Prayer's Power":

Sherman Jackson was a little late for the share service at his church on a recent Sunday night.

But that was OK. He had quite a story to share once he got there.

Sherman, 36, and his 7-year-old daughter, Alexa, had stopped for gas on their way to church.…

As they were about to drive away, a 30-ish fellow walked up. “Hey, man, I need your help,” he said. “Could you please help me jump-start my car? I’ll pay you to help me.”

Sherman fretted a moment about being late for church. Then he chided himself for thinking of that over helping someone.

So he invited the fellow to get in the front seat. Alexa was in back. And they drove off.

They hadn’t gone far when the man reached into his pocket. “I thought he was trying to get out some change to pay me for helping him,” Sherman said. But no.

“He pulled out a revolver with his right hand and placed his left hand on my shoulder. He pointed the revolver into my rib cage and said, “OK, man, this is for real. You give me all of your money right now, or I’m going to unload this gun on you.”

Sherman was terrified, of course. And mad at himself for putting his daughter in danger.

“OK, look, here’s all I have on me,” he said, pulling out his money clip.

“Take it all.”

But the robber didn’t believe him. “That’s not all. Give it all to me,” he said, shoving the gun harder into Sherman’s ribs.

Sherman, a Garland insurance agent, keeps Gideon Bibles in his car with a dollar bill tucked in each one. He gives them to the homeless. The gunman spotted one of those bills sticking out and began to scream at Sherman:

“You lied to me! There is more money here.”

Something came over Sherman just then, and he began to pray out loud. “Father in heaven, hear my cry and deliver me from this present evil.…”

He felt a sudden calm. “I lost all consciousness of concern and worry,” he said. “A boldness took over.”

He slowed the car and began to make a U-turn. The gunman screamed, “What are you doing?”

“This car is being turned around,” Sherman replied, “and I am not taking orders from you anymore.”

The man put the gun against Sherman’s chest. “You don’t get it, man. You mean nothing to me. I’ll pull this trigger.”

“No, you don’t understand,” Sherman cut him off. “Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world. My Jesus is stronger than your gun.”

He could see the gunman tug on the trigger. The hammer drew back. But Sherman didn’t flinch. He pulled over and stopped.

“I want to tell you about Jesus,” he said to the gunman.

The man wavered a moment, lowered his gun, and then dropped his head. When he looked up, he was crying. “I’m so sorry, man. I’m so, so sorry,” he said. “I was going to shoot you.”

“Don’t worry about it. I forgive you,” Sherman said. And then he began to tell the man about new life through belief in Jesus.

Sherman urged the man to go on to church with him, but he declined. He asked Sherman to drive him to his car at a store.

Along the way, the man began to tell Sherman about all his problems. He said his name was Mike and reached out to shake Sherman’s hand. Sherman continued talking to him about starting life anew with God.

As they neared the grocery, Sherman said, “And by the way, Mike, I want my money clip back.”

“Do what?!” Mike exclaimed. But then he meekly handed it over.

“And,” Sherman went on, “you are keeping this New Testament, and you are going to read it like you never read anything else before. And I’m going to be praying for you, Mike, that God will come into your life.”

They pulled alongside Mike’s car. “He got out,” Sherman said, “with the revolver in one hand, the Bible in the other hand, and tears in his eyes.”

And Sherman drove on to church.2

Some readers wrote to the columnist to say they didn’t believe this story. A follow-up article in the same newspaper, however, revealed that “Mike” was suspected of involvement in “a rash of 15 or so nearly identical robberies in the area.” Police officers informed Sherman that he was the only one who got his money back. A few weeks later, Mike was captured and is now in regular contact with Sherman.

In that frightening moment when a gun was thrust into his chest and Sherman Jackson uttered his cry to God, he was following a pattern repeated throughout God’s Word—and throughout history. God heard and acted—just as He has responded again and again to His people’s cries.

And just as He longs to respond to you.

Points to Ponder

Does your prayer life have the power that you want it to have? Do you ever wonder why some of your prayers don’t seem to reach “the ears of God”? Do you want to experience greater results from your prayers?


Meet the Author

For over fifty years, Bill Gothard, founder of the Institute in Basic Life Principles, has dedicated his life to training young people to be mighty in spirit, mature in character, and wise in decision-making. Today, the Institute works with the leaders of fifteen nations and has many different divisions designed to strengthen youth and families. Gothard lives in a suburb of Chicago, Illinois.

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The Power of Crying Out: When Prayer Becomes Mighty 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In July, 2001, I sat in the assembly hall at Gothard's Indianapolis facility and listened as hundreds of God's people cried out in unison. This book captures the biblical principles of prayer. It is powerful because it is insightful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A number of people who have read this book have commented that this has been an extremely helpful book when it comes to dealing with the 'impossible' situations in life. I whole heartily agree !