"In every situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving present your requests to God." Phil 4:6 TNIV
It's easy to have a "when all else fails, pray!" mentality. We may not actually say that but it is often the case. We tend to act first then pray. However, God never intended for prayer to be a last resort. He wants it to be our first response to the everyday things we encounter, big or small.
The thought to pray first doesn't come naturally. It comes from cultivating a lifestyle of talking to God, not just in our devotional times, but throughout the day. Whether we are breathing silent prayers, praying out loud or uttering calls to God for help, talking to the Lord about everything should become as natural as breathing.
But why pray? God has given us minds that are well equipped to analyze, plan and solve problems and He wants us to use our minds. But, His ways are not our ways. So He doesn't want us to depend on human wisdom for guidance. Our mind is a battleground where natural thoughts and godly wisdom strive for control. God wants to break our reliance on earthly wisdom and get us to where we dare not act without first having sought His counsel.
King David faced many difficulties in his life. Through them he had learned to inquire of the Lord. So when confronted by the Amalekite army for example (1 Sam 30:8), he knew better than to look to his own wisdom, even though he was an experienced warrior. Instead he sought the Lord. The Lord showed him what to do. He obeyed and God gave him success in battle.
Along with prayer, praise too should be like a reflex action when surprised by trials. A trusting heart will always express itself by giving thanks to God for present troubles no matter how difficult they are.
If we first learn to commit to God in prayer everything that happens to us, we will save ourselves much wasted time and heartache. The hymn "What a Friend we have in Jesus" says it so well: "O what peace we often forfeit, O what needless pain we bear, all because we do not carry everything to God in prayer."
Global Prayer Coordinator