There I was in the middle of a “prayer huddle” with mostly strangers at a women’s conference. We were standing in the circle together and we were supposed to be praying aloud for ourselves, family and community- our immediate spheres of influence. Everyone else in the circle knew one another, and I was the odd one out.
Then the unexpected happened, One lady started in her prayer, “Lord we ask you to be with those of us that have an extended family member that is suffering…”
Boom. I burst into tears. They were uncontrollable, deep heavy and sorrowful sobs. The tears that poured out started to overwhelm me as I fought to catch my breath. When I collapsed from the burden I was carrying, and eventually calmed myself, an inexpiable peace and reassurance swept over me.
The release of my tears was not from me, it was not me lamenting for my relapsed relative, it was the Holy Spirit inside of me crying out in pain and desperation for all of those who are afflicted.
This all happened at the CryOut 2016 Prayer Simulcast event hosted by True Women and Revive Our Hearts Ministries. The goal of this event was to indeed intercede for our family, friends, community and nation. There were 7,000 ladies the convention center that evening, and thousands of others joining in via simulcast and live streaming.
The tears that overwhelmed me became the desperate prayer that consumed me. Praying the desperate prayer stemmed from first allowing myself to get to the point of heavy tears and a snotty mess, the ugly cry. (To read Part 1: Crying the Ugly Cry, click HERE.)
“Consider and call for the mourning women, That they may come; And send for skillful wailing women, That they may come.Let them make haste And take up a wailing for us, That our eyes may run with tears, And our eyelids gush with water. For a voice of wailing is heard from Zion..” Jeremiah 9:17-19 (NKJV)
How do we cry desperate tears? How do we pray the desperate prayer?
Desperate prayers start with brokenness. Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth defined brokenness in her talk as , “as willingness to live from a state of dependence, a lifestyle of unconditional surrender to Jesus Christ.
“Brokenness is not a feeling, it is a choice. It is living in openness and authenticity with God and others.” – Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth
Choosing to cry out allows for God to penetrate our hearts to have the kind of dependency that leads to desperation. Our dependency should lead us to a place of desperation, but sadly we often only start to depend when we are desperate.
We have it backwards, sweet friends.
We do everything in our power to solve our problems. We learn to depend on only our feelings, thoughts and motivations. It is only when we have exhausted our resources that we begin to tap into the reservoir of endless strength through the power of Jesus Christ.
I once heard it said that prayer is often our last resort and it should really be our first list of defense. I couldn’t agree more, and I even would add that desperate prayers, rooted in dependency on God should be the place we live from.
Desperate prayers connect your brokenness before God. Prayer from this place is not a question and answer session or a list of requests, but more of an open forum between ourselves and God.
We should be listening, not just listing. We should be hearing and not just hounding. We should be experiencing God and not just expressing our wants to God.
When you deny yourself of your pride, and let down your defenses, the Spirit intercedes on your behalf.
Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. -Romans 8:26-27 (ESV)
Many people in the bible model this example of desperation, but I want to take a look at Daniel.
Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy. Lord, listen! Lord, forgive! Lord, hear and act! For your sake, my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.” -Daniel 9:17-19 (NIV)
From Daniel’s prayer I noticed two things about desperate prayer.
Desperate prayers don’t tell God what to do, they show him what is being done.
Desperate prayers don’t deny our sinful nature by making excuses for our weaknesses, but instead they are vulnerable with God, allowing Him to come and work all things for good.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)
Sweet friends I have no idea what each of you are going through, but I know that each of us needs to embrace our brokenness and dependence so we can pray in the Spirit with desperation and expectancy.
That night during the prayer among thousands of women was unlike anything I have ever experienced. Thousands of broken women coming before God to be made whole for themselves, their family, their community and our nation. I can’t begin to accurately describe the experience I had as I sat there sobbing uncontrollably, all I can tell you is there is desperation in this country during this time and it is up to us to intercede for those who are not capable of praying themselves.
What is one desperate prayer you can begin to pray for yourself, a loved one, your community or our nation today?