It’s O.K. to Cry
By Pastor Jamie Bagley
Last fall the LORD convicted me that I was not weeping enough for our city. I wasn’t exactly sure what God was trying to tell me, so I began to pray for understanding and study God’s Word for insights. Here’s what I learned.
Tears are precious in the sight of God when they are tears of longing, shed in intercession, or tears of joy as you praise God for answered prayer. Jesus wept with compassion when he saw the anguish of friends (John 11:35); he wept for the city of Jerusalem; he also wept for us as he wrestled with the powers of darkness in the Garden (Hebrews 5:7).
I’m not talking about tears of self-pity. While a ‘good cry’ might help relieve the stresses of discouragement and depression, such tears give no testimony to spiritual depth or power. I’m talking about the power of tears resulting from deep spiritual desire. It’s tears such as these that testify to God the depth of your identity with those for whom you intercede, the intensity of longing which underlies your intercession, and serve as a testimony of the Holy Spirit praying through you.
In TOUCH THE WORLD THROUGH PRAYER, Wesley Duewel writes, “At times, God calls us to weep (Ecclesiastes 3:4). This is his call to empathy, to vicarious intercessory identification with others. At such times, we should be sure to pray “us” prayers and not “them” prayers. We must identify with those in need, rather than condemn and accuse.”
Here are some reasons for us to weep, according to Duewel:
1. We should weep because people turn away from God.
People turn away from God whenever they do not seek him. There are many people who seemingly have no need for God, or desire to live by the truth of his Word. These people are “given over to a depraved mind to do what ought not to be done” (Romans 1:28). In our area less than 20% of the population attends a worship service each week.
2. We should weep because sin is multiplying.
In 2Timothy 3:1-5 Paul notes that many people live a self-centered lifestyle. They may not seem that bad on the outside, and they may even have a form of godliness, but they deny God’s power in their lives. Problems related to drugs and alcohol usage is evidence of this lifestyle. This problem is also seen in child abuse, spousal abuse, elder abuse, prejudice, … (this list could go on and on and include the little things you and I do, but think are harmless).
3. We should weep because as a church we are too lifeless and powerless.
We have many of the same problems as the congregations Jesus spoke of in the Revelation (chapters 2 & 3). Too many congregations are foremost caught up in their own social concerns, evidence of their own self-centeredness. Because we focus on ourselves instead of God, we have no power to live by faith. The power of God will only come to us as we seek him and receive the full outpouring of his Spirit for a life of faith.
4. We should weep because we, as God’s people, put little emphasis on our responsibilities.
We put a greater priority on working to provide a living than the study of God’s Word, prayer, and missional activities. Jesus said that we should rest in God to supply our needs (Matthew 6:25-27). If God takes care of lilies and birds, shouldn’t we believe he will provide for us as well? Then why do we allow ourselves to get so caught up in going after the “stuff” of the world which keeps us from the “stuff” of God?
Oh, LORD, break our hearts for the things that are on your heart, that we might weep with you. Give us vision to see how you want to bring salvation to our city. Let your work begin in us, that we might then be worthy to help others find You.