From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
We’ve all had a doctor take a little rubber hammer and tap on the knee to test our reflex. The lower leg gives a gentle kick showing the reflex is good. It is a reflective action that occurs automatically and it is the same every time that nerve gets hit.
It’s often the same when troubles come our way. Trials strike a nerve within us and our inner-self comes forth. Our reflexive action tends to follow the pattern we’ve nourished. Many panic, react with anger, express confusion. Others react with an assurance that God is leading and giving a spirit of calmness.
The Bible writer James reminds us of what our reflexive action should be when trouble strikes. He writes: “Is any one of you in trouble? He should pray…. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:13, 16, NIV 1984). Why does he say this? For one thing, prayer is an acknowledgement of our helplessness. We will never pray if we think we can solve everything on our own or if we are too proud to ask God for help. Pride leads to prayerlessness.
Prayer is also an acknowledgement of God’s power and love. We are not trying to manipulate God when we pray—for He cannot be manipulated; but we are looking for Him to help us according to His perfect will. When troubles come, may prayer be our automatic response. What we really believe becomes evident when we encounter times of trial. For those who follow Christ daily, our attitudes and actions in seasons of difficulty show a watching world that we truly believe the promises given to us in Scripture. This is what it means to walk with God.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)