When do I call out to God?
A close call during a sailing expedition makes me consider my prayer habits.
(Click to listen to an audio recording of this article, read by the author: When do I call out to God?)
My heart sank with dread as I saw what was happening. I was at the rudder of a small sailboat which was rapidly starting to lean over in the sudden wind that had sprung up. Farther and farther the sail was tilting, coming dangerously close to the waves as the wind caught it in full force. “Help! I don’t know what to do!” I cried out. My friend, who had been relaxing, eyes closed, jumped up in a panic, quickly took over, working feverishly to correct my mistake. Slowly, the sailboat became upright again. That was a close call!
“If you pray only when you are in trouble, you are in trouble!”
I came across this quote recently, and it reminded me of this long-past incident. Inexperienced as I was, I thought that I was doing quite well, sitting proudly at the rudder, thinking I was in full control. I was not anticipating any sudden wind changes or other challenges to come along and, quite simply, I was caught off guard. When I realized how much danger I was in, that’s when I cried out for help to my friend who was an experienced sailor. How different it would have been if I had been in conversation with him the whole time, even when the sailing was smooth, to get the necessary guidance and knowledge of how to sail properly and how to watch out for unexpected weather or possible obstacles. Then I would have been much more prepared.
Relationship with God
This can be an analogy of how it is for a Christian. God is my Father, who only wants the best for me. Why wouldn’t I want to ask Him about absolutely everything?
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7.
Even when it is “smooth sailing,” and everything seems to be going well in my life, it is crucial to have that constant contact with God. He cares about the smallest details of my life. And He says that I can come to Him with everything – all my requests – be it a “smooth” day or a rough day. The result of that constant, firm relationship with God, is that He will give me a peace which will guard my heart and mind from unrest and anxiety.
Then, when the storms of life come I’m prepared, because I have the greatest mentor of all giving the necessary aid I need in order to come through the storm unscathed. He is close by, ready and longing to help me when I come into times of trouble.
“Let us therefore come boldly to the, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16.
God is my life-line
Why am I sometimes so slow to go to God for help? Especially when I know that the help I need is available if only I am bold enough to ask for it. At times, after I have been through a particularly trying situation, I have looked back and wished that I had sought God much sooner. Then I could have gotten peace in my heart much sooner instead of dragging it on until my trouble was so great that I had nowhere else to turn except to cry out to God for help. I should have been in connection with Him from the start.
If I truly understand how much God loves me and follows my life precisely, just waiting to help me, then it isn’t hard for me to return that love. That means that my thoughts automatically go upwards to Him, both in times of peace and times of turmoil. It becomes as natural as breathing. He is my life-line.
“God is my refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalm 46:1.
God is definitely there to help when I cry out in times of trouble, I believe that. But there is a better way to live. I shouldn’t be waiting for trouble before calling out to the one who created me and has thoughts of a good future for me.
A constant conversation
How much better it is to have constant conversation with my caring Father, the redeemer of my soul! This doesn’t necessarily mean that I need to drop everything I’m doing and fall to my knees, but it is a hidden longing and sighing in my heart, a silent prayer to God, a thought of thankfulness, a renewing in my mind day by day.
Imagine being someone who can get out of bed every morning with this ringing in my heart, “This is the day the Lord has made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 With that mindset, I know that my friend Jesus is walking beside me throughout the day, with all the help I need to live a completely happy life!
“As for me, I will call upon God, and the Lord shall save me. Evening and morning and noon I will pray, and cry aloud, and He shall hear my voice. He has redeemed my soul in peace from the battle that was against me…” Psalm 55:16-18.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.