At a summer ROTC training camp at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida, cadets were nervous about their approaching survival training, knowing that they would be camping in tents in a snake-infested swamp. The survival instructor began to advise them on how to treat snakebites and explained that the venom of rattlesnakes, copperheads and water moccasins affected the circulatory system. Their bites were to be treated with tourniquets, incisions and suction. However, the poison of the coral snake, he advised, affects the nervous system.
With that said, the instructor closed his manual. One cadet cautiously raised a hand and asked, "Sir, so what do we do if a coral snake bites one of us?"
“In case that happens,” he replied, "turn to page A1-7 in your manuals."
There was a flurry of flipping pages as cadets quickly turned to find the answer. As they reached the page, faces paled. Page A1-7 consisted entirely of prayers.
You’ve heard the expression, “I don’t have a prayer.” You’ve probably felt that way. But, actually, we always have a prayer. Sometimes prayer is all we have.
Numerous situations recorded in the Bible seemed hopeless. The Israelites, having just escaped Egypt, found themselves hemmed in, the Red Sea on one side and an angry army approaching from the other. There literally was no way out – until they cried out to God and he created a new way out for them by parting the sea. They had a prayer, and God answered it.
Twelve men had abandoned their normal lives to pursue a dream following Jesus. They looked forward to the crowning of a new king and a new life for themselves in that kingdom. Then their leader was arrested, crucified, and buried. It looked and felt like there was no way past that tomb – until God made a new way. They had a prayer and God raised his king to a new life.
Sooner or later, we will find ourselves in some situation that seems totally hopeless. We may see no way of escape. At those times we need to remember his promise, “For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears are attentive to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against those who do evil" (1 Peter 3:12).
Whether in bad times or good, we always have a prayer – if we’ll just use it.