Two children dressed as sheep in the Christmas play at Kaw Prairie Community Church in De Soto, Missouri, had a special part. Whenever Murphy, the main character in the play, encountered a problem, the sheep (Maria and Luke) came on stage to offer a reminder of what he needed to do. One carried the sign: “Just.” The other carried the sign: “Pray.”

We’ve all been faced with situations when we didn’t know what to do, or there was nothing we could do. When we’re distressed, we probably don’t want to hear someone flippantly say, “Just pray!” That answer seems too simplistic and can even feel hurtful if it’s said unthinkingly.

But the simple answer “Just pray” is exactly what we need to do. During the days of the early church, James wrote to believers who were going through trials—difficulties that most of us know nothing about: stonings, imprisonment, and beatings for their faith. He told them to ask God for the wisdom and comfort to withstand those trials: “Let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him” (1:5).

When you encounter a problem, remember the simple instructions of the “Just Pray” sheep and talk to God about it. He’ll give you what you need.