During those many days the king of Egypt died, and the people of Israel groaned because of their slavery and cried out for help. Their cry for rescue from slavery came up to God. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob. —Exodus 2:23–24
When was the last time you cried? Before you answer too quickly, I’m not talking about a sniffly, tissue-stifled whimper—I’m talking about a powerful vocal exclamation.
In the literary world, we only have so many ways to describe the way in which a character speaks: she said, she exclaimed, she whispered, she cried, and so forth. We tend to reserve “she cried” for times when we want to express intensity. Urgency. Exasperation, even. When a character cries out, “Oh, Lord! Help me!” you know she’s at the end of her rope. She’s reached the end of her wits, the end of her abilities, and her gaze has turned upward, toward the source of strength she should have relied on to begin with.
So I ask again, when was the last time you “cried,” that is, cried out?
The Israelites in Exodus 2 were groaning—sighing, says another translation. They were enslaved, oppressed, desperate, and apart from God, absolutely, completely helpless. At the end of their collective strength, they cried out with one intense and urgent voice, “Oh Lord! Help us!” And God heard. He remembered. He saw them. He took notice. (Ex. 3:25).
Believers in my generation have, for the first time it seems, come to the end of our collective rope. Our human efforts have fallen short and we’re looking around at our world with an ever-growing sense of desperation. We only have one choice, and it should have been our first. We must cry out with urgency to the God who helps, who hears, and who remembers His people.
Oh, Lord! Help us! Hear us! Remember us!
How to Pray:
As the virus wreaks havoc with our economy, and riots send lifetimes of labor up in smoke, and the fabric of our common life is torn, we pray that the compounding of sorrows will not compound our sins, but send us desperate and running to the risen Savior, our only hope, Jesus Christ.
O Jesus, for this you died! That you might reconcile hopeless, hostile people to God and to each other. You have done it for millions by grace through faith. Do it, Lord Jesus, in [our city], we pray. Amen. —John Piper from “The Sorrows of Minneapolis: A Prayer for Our City”
What to Pray
- Pray for your generation, that whether young or old, affluent or impoverished, Republican or Democrat, the people of God would stand together with one voice and cry out, “Oh, Lord! Help us! Hear us! Remember us!”
- Pray that your church would sense the urgency of these times—that every moment of these days of grace draws us ever closer to the moment of Jesus’ return. And, oh, how we need Him to breathe life into our tired souls, that we might share the news of His coming with our friends and neighbors who have no hope apart from Him.