“You know how troubled I am; you have kept a record of my tears. Aren’t they listed in your book?” Psalm 56:8
Surprising to a few, our tears are of immense value to God and serve as a powerful means of intercession, before Christ.
How does God consider our tears, as power packed prayers?
Theoretically, we have heard that singing is praying twice, since a beautiful hymn also engages our emotion into our prayer (which makes it more powerful, because we tend to steep ourselves in faith). Therefore, when you are experiencing pain, expressing your emotions to Jesus who is your truest friend, is you, in faith, putting into action the work of Him counting your tears. With these powerful faith filled prayers and childlike trust, He desires to answer us. When we are in a broken situation and cry to Him not knowing what to do, we tend to leave everything up to Him and do not try to dictate what course of action to take.
God has created us with the wonderful gift of emotions and expects us to use it, not only to communicate our feelings, to others, but express it to Him as well. Who better to offer the tears back to, than to the giver of tears, with our supplications attached, making it a perfect surrender, that works miracles. When we do this, we are professing that, ultimately only He can change our situation into a blessing. It is not our human friends (even if we opened up to them, for they are powerless to help), unless God provides grace.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4
“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning…”- Revelation 21:4
Saint Therese of Liseux, teaches that God desires our whole life as a prayer. If we offer every action of ours, including sleeping and breathing, to God as a prayer, He accepts this, though it seems strange to us.
Of course, God is not encouraging us to cry or live in sorrow. However, He desires emptying our emotions and surrendering it, when we are faced with such situations.
There are a list of examples we see in scripture about this, but none better than the Virgin Mary. As the church places a value on suffering and pain, it even commemorates a feast known as Our Lady of Sorrows, on the 15th of this month of September.
Why are her tears and sorrows so powerful that it is commemorated as a feast?
Intercession through Our Lady of Sorrows, carries great power. This is because of Mary’s efforts and immense suffering (while in her sinless state), when she witnessed Jesus’ entire life of struggles, on our behalf. At the cross, God wanted her to enter into a motherly “labor”, as she had to become our universal mother.
In Cana, at the wedding we see proof of the power of Mary’s sorrows, when God allowed His Son to begin His ministry at the time His mother wished, rather than His own pre-destined time.
In fact, it was Jesus who asked her (in a practical way), why the wine supply should be their business. It was not even a matter of illness or death, but because of Mary sorrow for the couple’s pain, He felt obliged to act upon her request.
What kind of tears pierce the heart of Jesus, such that He answers our prayers?
If our tears are for selfish gain or revenge, He may only use it to give us grace to see things the right way, which needs our cooperation.
Tears that produce the greatest answers to prayers, are sorrows for righteous reasons, or in defense of righteousness. It is not only limited to mourning for justice, when injustice surrounds us or our friends (even enemies), but for every sorrow, where the fruit of love, is bereft in our lives.
Example: When we lose a loved one, besides mourning their sufferings at their demise, we mourn for lack of his/her companionship. Their personality, love, friendliness, prayerful and physical support, kindness, etc; all these characteristics, come from God, and His fruit of love. These people were God’s extended arms of love and He sees that, indirectly we are mourning for fear of losing His love. Upon seeing our tearful intercession, God will work to provide what is lacking, through another source.
A person may sorrow for losing a job, as he/she may lack the ability to provide for his family, parents and himself. Sharing these powerful emotions with God, for the sake of doing righteous things, is so pleasing to God, that He will not be slow to answer your emotional plea, but give you much more.
Upon seeing his prodigal son looking so sorrowed, disheveled, starving and humbled, the father could not bear to listen to petitions from his son, to work as a slave, but immediately restored him to his position, as son. The son also learnt a very important lesson through his difficulties. He was wrong about his father; his father was wise, had sharp insight, was a good man and not a boring loser. For the first time, he came to truly appreciate his father; he sorrowed over leaving a righteous man. This pleased God and hence everything was restored to him.
The barren Hannah (Samuel’s mother), prayed with constant tears in the temple, begging for a child. Eli the priest mistook her actions, but God was so moved by this, He prophesied through Eli himself, that her wish would be granted.
God takes these expressions so seriously, so when Mical, King David’s wife, showed disgust for David’s emotion of joy, by dancing before the ark of the Lord, God caused her to be barren.
Rare moments when God Himself longs for our prayerful tears as a self-intercession to save our hardened soul:
On Good Friday, mobs of people were calling for a man’s death whom they knew was good, innocent, fed and taught them to live in peace and love. He caused their hearts to come alive by caring for the marginalised, curing and raising their dead, while sleeping in places where He often had no place to lay His head.
After rioting and daringly threatening Pilot for His execution, many of these people, returned home, beating their breasts.
It seems crazy that one moment they demanded His death but a few hours later, they were beating their breasts (like the publican in the synagogue – Luke 18:13).
It signified repentance, sorrow and acknowledgement of grave sin!
By all standards, this was nothing short of a miracle and it happened through God’s grace.
They were crying, not for losing the teacher who performed miracles, but for the person of Jesus. He had shown goodness and righteous disposition of love, patience, kindness, mercy and self control – all through His life but it climaxed, especially when He was on the cross.
As per the prophecies of the Old Testament, they finally experienced something they had never experienced before. The Kingdom of God had come upon them through Jesus’ loving rule, but they brutally silenced it.
As per Romans 14:17, the kingdom of God is of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
Upon His death, they suddenly felt the loss of this Kingdom. Where once they had cried out for His death, but now, beating their own breast, they were indirectly crying out louder to the Father, that they had made a terrible mistake, by killing the precious one.
In effect, the Father wanted to see them mourning this loss. So, though they did not understand it, their tears, would be an appeasement to God. It served as a petition, to once again bring His Son’s Divine presence and the Kingdom of God to them. And their prayer was granted!
Hence on the third day, Jesus resurrected, appearing to many people (besides His apostles) and thereafter, commissioned His apostles to spread the Kingdom of God.
Mary Magdalene had steadfast loyalty at the cross (in spite of the danger of supporting Jesus) and even after His death, did not stop her streaming tears at the tomb. She did not realize this was a strong petition to God, which was going to be answered. On Easter Sunday, at the tomb, she was the first one to be comforted by her Rabboni!
In a minute, her piercing pain, was transformed to immense joy, as God was touched by her love for Him.
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy.” Psalm 30:11
If we offer every event of our lives to God, because not only we, but our tears and joys are precious to Him and He wants us to surrender it to Him, He will transform these little things, into great blessings for us and those we intercede for.
When God sees us constantly surrendering these moments, what He sees is that we are always remembering Him. Why will this not bring favour upon us, since He too will constantly be remembering us!
1 Thessalonians 5:16 – 17: Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing.