“Call upon Me in the day of trouble; I shall rescue you, and you will honor Me.” Psalm 50:15
Praying in times of trouble involves a greater sense of urgency than our everyday prayers. Too often, though, we’re just looking for a quick rescue from our distress so we can go back to normal life. Notice in today’s verse, God’s purpose for inviting Israel to call out to Him was so they would honor Him. Likewise, our relationship with Christ is God’s primary concern. So, He teaches us how to draw closer in times of trouble.
The Lord knows that we tend to look to Him more expectantly in desperate situations. We certainly hear desperation in Peter’s cry for help, “But seeing the wind, he became frightened, and beginning to sink, he cried out, Lord save me!” (Matthew 14:30). Keep in mind, Peter was walking on water when he momentarily took his eyes off of Jesus. We, too, can go from demonstrating extraordinary faith to focusing on our problems in an instant. Peter teaches us to keep our eyes on Jesus in the midst of the storm. He wasn’t just desperate for help; he was desperate for Jesus to help him.
Calling out to God requires humility. We have to admit that we can’t solve the problem on our own. In fact, trying to handle it alone is pride, which puts us in opposition to God. On the other hand, humility paves the way for His grace to flow freely. “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).
James also says that our faith affects God’s answer. Calling out to God is an admission of unwavering faith in Him alone. “But he must ask in faith without any doubting, for the one who doubts…ought not to expect that he will receive anything from the Lord.” (James 1:6–7). You see, doubt leads to a divided heart and mind (v8); and crying out to God is an act of unconditional surrender.
Are you in a “day of trouble?” Then don’t try to bargain with God for a quick rescue. Instead, humbly surrender the situation to Him, confessing any thoughts and attitudes that reflect rebellion to His authority. Actively look for ways to honor the Lord, even as your circumstances linger. The key to praying in times of trouble is not just being desperate for help, but being desperate for Jesus Himself.