Loud and Clear
Lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid.
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
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."
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
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
This doesn't happen once or twice, but over and over
But it isn't just people in the pages of Scripture who
experience this phenomenon. It's still happening to this
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
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
He slowed the car and began to make a U-turn.
The gunman screamed, "What are you
"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
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.
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
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
Excerpted from The Power of Crying Outby Bill Gothard Copyright © 2002 by Institute in Basic Life Principles, Inc.
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.