It is easy to devote ourselves to prayer in the midst of a crisis. Difficult circumstances have a way of bringing life into focus and stripping of us the external distractions that keep us from falling headlong into the arms of our loving God. When tragedy strikes, entire communities come together to seek God’s protection, comfort and deliverance. We might say, “It seems we always come to God when we need Him, but fail to thank Him when things are going well.” Nevertheless, trouble has a way of humbling us and bringing us to a place in our lives where we are willing to let God take control.
The subject of prayer is at the same time a blessing and a burden. Please don’t misunderstand. I am not saying prayer itself is a burden, for it is indeed the means God has given us to know Him and draw close. But our desire to be a people of prayer can drive us to depression if we are unable to meet our personal expectations or the expectations others set for us. Unfortunately, prayer has become a marketing tool for religious people with private ambitions, and creating a sense of guilt over the insufficiency of our relationship with God can become a means of manipulation bent on creating a need for their product.
Yet, we should be burdened by the need for prayer. Our burden should not be one born of unrealistic or ungodly expectation, but rather a sincere desire to know the heart of God as well as His will for our lives. We have one life to live, and we want to please our Father in everything. We know, instinctively and scripturally that prayer is foundational this discovery process. As the Psalmist wrote, “Come and see what God has done!” (Psalm 66:5)