Scripture Reading: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-20
Devote yourselves to prayer with an alert mind and a thankful heart. (Colossians 4:2 NLT)
During the Korean War I was stationed at Mare Island Naval shipyard in Vallejo, California. A number of submariners were shipmates of mine. I found it interesting, but at the same time sad to listen to the “old salts,” as we called them, telling stories about their wartime experiences and crises praying while under depth charge attack. What do we mean by “crises praying?”
Crisis praying takes place when life and limb are in extreme danger. If you’ve watched the movie Run Silent, Run Deep, you know the submariners were under heavy depth charge attack by the Japanese Navy. You could see men with heads bowed, lips moving, fingers cross, fearful looks in their eyes, and dead silence. They were in a crises praying mode. All other activity stopped while the attack was underway. No one was allowed to make a single sound so the enemy sonar could not detect where they were hiding. It is similar to the soldier who is fighting a battle from a fox hole with the enemy swarming all around him. He is desperate and turns to God in a crises prayer for deliverance.
The problem with crisis praying is reflected in our attitude toward God. When facing a difficult situation we turn our attention heavenward, but as soon as the crisis passes our thoughts and actions turn back to the world and God is forgotten. We tend to view God as our “big daddy” in the sky who sits around waiting for a crisis to develop so that he can step in and save us.
This was the attitude that the children of Israel demonstrated while they were marching through the wilderness. Time and time again they complained to Moses. No water! No food! No meat! One crisis after another—all because they refused to accept what God supplied. Crisis prayer was a way of life for them.
The Apostle Paul taught the churches in Asia the true meaning of prayer. They weren’t to pray just when a crisis arose. Paul told the Thessalonians, “Do not stop praying” (1 Th. 5:17). The disciples were instructed to “watch and pray that you fall not into temptation.” I doubt if Jesus would have told them to be watchful if there wasn’t a legitimate reason. Peter says, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil is prowling around seeking someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8). Paul tells the Ephesians to “pray at all times in the Spirit” (Eph. 6:18).
How is your prayer life? Do you have a daily prayer time, or just when a crisis arises? God speaks to us through his word, and we speak to him through our prayers.
Prayer: Dear Lord, help me to make prayer a consistent habit in my life.