When my husband and I supervise our son’s piano practice sessions, we begin by asking God to help us. We pray first because neither my husband nor I know how to play the instrument. Together, all three of us are coming to understand musical mysteries such as the meaning of “staccato” and “legato” and when to use the piano’s black keys.

Prayer becomes a priority when we realize that we need God’s help. David needed God’s assistance in a dangerous situation as he considered fighting the Philistines in the city of Keilah. Before engaging in battle, “David inquired of the Lord, saying, ‘Shall I go and attack these Philistines?’” (1 Sam. 23:2). God gave His approval. However, David’s men admitted that the enemy forces intimidated them. Before a single sword was lifted against the Philistines, David prayed again. God promised him the victory he later claimed (v.4).

Does prayer guide our lives, or is it our last resort when trouble strikes? We sometimes fall into the habit of making plans and then asking God to bless them, or praying only in moments of desperation. God does want us to turn to Him in moments of need. But He also wants us to remember that we need Him all the time (Prov. 3:5-6).