Friends say my response to any problem is to panic, and they're right. I know I ought to turn to God and trust Him when problems arise, but I just don't think about it at the time. How can I change this? — Mrs. N.McW.
Did your doctor ever take a little rubber hammer and tap your knees? He was testing your reflexes -- and if they were good, your lower leg responded with a gentle kick. That reflex action is automatic, and occurs every time that nerve gets hit.
What should be our automatic "reflex action" when troubles hit us? It should be to turn to God in prayer and trust. The Bible says, "Is any of you in trouble? He should pray. ... The prayer of a righteous man (or woman) is powerful and effective" (James 5:13, 16). Why pray? For one thing, prayer is an admission that we need God's help. You will never pray if you think you can solve everything on your own, or if you're too proud to ask God for help.
Pride keeps us from prayer -- but so does panic. We panic when we think there isn't any answer to our problems -- even from God. But God knows all about us, and He loves us and wants to help us. And He can help us, because He is all-powerful and all-wise. The Bible tells us to pray "on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests" (Ephesians 6:18).
How can you make this a reality? First, ask God to help you trust Him when problems arise. Then memorize some of the Bible's promises about prayer (such as Philippians 4:6-7 and 1 John 5:14-15). Quote them to yourself every day; they'll help remind you to pray when troubles come.