When is it OK to cry out to God?
This may not seem like a difficult question to answer. Some would answer simply, “When I need Him most.” Others would view the question as far more complicated. For me, my prayer life has seasons. There are times when I cry out to God only when I can’t figure things out on my own. This week, I have been reminded that my prayer life needs to be more than “Googling” for answers. It should be about my relationship with God, my conversations with Him, my opportunity to give thanks to Him, and of course my opportunity to cry out when I can’t figure things out.
We all struggle at times when we feel as though God is not listening, or His answer to our prayer is not what we are seeking. I am reminded of how often David, a man after God’s own heart, struggled to hear God in midst of the trials he endured. Listen as David cries out to the Lord.
Lord, how many are my foes! How many rise up against me! Many are saying of me, “God will not deliver him.” Psalm 3:1-2
Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. Give me relief from my distress; have mercy on me and hear my prayer. Psalm 4:1
Why, Lord, do you stand far off? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1
How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? Psalm 13:1
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from my cries of anguish? Psalm 22:1
Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me. Psalm 35:1
My tears have been my food day and night, while people say to me all day long, “Where is your God?” Psalm 42:3
You have rejected us, God, and burst upon us; you have been angry—now restore us! Psalm 60:1
You see we are not alone in our struggle to hear God or see His immediate intervention in whatever situation we find ourselves. Here, however, the psalmist explains when to cry out to God.
David notes that God’s help is constant, timely, and ever present. So, what does this have to do with our addictions to pornography? I am convinced that this addiction is more than a symptom of our desires. Pornography represents a deeper brokenness. A brokenness that we think we can diagnose and treat on our own. As a result, we muffle our cries to the Lord. We feel too ashamed to cry out to the Lord. We feel as though our struggles are not worthy of our cries to the Lord. Maybe we even think He is just too busy for us.
The Apostle Paul challenges us in this way. He says, “Pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16. It’s clear that we should continually be in prayer:
- In times of affliction and distress
- In times of blessing and prosperity
- And yes, when we struggle with our addictions
As I talk to more and more men who struggle with pornography, I am often reminded of how seldom we truly cry out to the Lord. The scripture says that the Holy Spirit helps even when we can’t form the words to cry out for help.
“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Romans 8:26. The Spirit steps in and carries those unsaid “groanings” that we can’t express. Paul goes on to say in Romans 12:12, “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”
Back to our original question, when is it OK to cry out to God? The answer is in all things. He is patient and faithful to us. Shouldn’t we be patient and faithful to Him? Cry out to an ever present, ever willing Redeemer who is ready and willing to listen.