The text message comes in the middle of my workday: “Emergency SOS, ____ has made an emergency call from this approximate location.”  

These are not the words a mother likes to hear about her son.  My throat constricts and my heart beats faster as I wonder what the message means.  Is my son in trouble?  How would I help him if he actually is?  I definitely have a few moments of panic but then I remember that my Heavenly Father is with my son right at this very moment.  There is nothing that can happen to him where God won’t be there.  As I wait to learn more, my fervent prayers begin.

Gratefully, the emergency SOS is a false alarm.  As I speak to my son on the phone, relief washes over me.  My spirit is restored to know he is safe and well.

This situation reminds me about how the whole emergency SOS idea kind of describes my prayer life at times.  How often are my prayers to God a panicked – “help me with this trying situation please”?  

It’s not that God doesn’t want to hear those prayers.  He surely does.  The problem lies when that is the mainstay of my communication with Him.  I know that I would not appreciate if the only conversations I have with my children are requests for help.  I want to have a relationship with them and know how things in their lives are going.  It matters to me to nurture them and encourage them but that would be hard to do if they rarely spoke with me about what is going on in their lives.

With God it is similar.  He wants a close relationship with us.  He desires for us to talk with Him no matter what is going on.  He wants to hear about what makes us thankful and happy.  His goal is for us to experience joy and peace and ultimately share eternity with Him.  

God specifically tells us to cast our cares on Him in 1 Peter: “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.” (5:7 NIV).  We should be able to tell Him anything.  Like a loving parent, He wants to help us and He encourages the connection that results from the back and forth communication.  Our Heavenly Father is a safe place to share all our hopes and dreams, as well as all our sorrows and concerns.  

It is not always easy giving all our concerns to the Lord.  Our human nature wants to control our own destiny and not be reliant on others.  I know I am bad for working hard to figure things out myself before I consider asking for help.  Hence, I have the desperate “God help me” petitions when things go awry.  

My personal project of the moment is to take more time to build a relationship with my Heavenly Father.  That means more trust and less stubborn independence on my part.  It means more listening and less telling.  This direction means opening up my heart and soul to God’s Word.  Ultimately, it is a letting go on my part.  It is not letting my heart be troubled because I trust God to do as He has promised to care for me now and always.

While I know God readily accepts my emergency SOS calls, it is challenging to have a close personal relationship with Him when that is all I do.  A fuller, deeper prayer life is definitely a goal.  I challenge you to consider where your prayer life is at these days.  Are your prayers mostly requests for help?  When was the last time you just shared your heart with God about all that is going on in your life?  God is an awesome listener and He does answer.  

Like human relationships, making a connection with God takes time and effort.  Drawing closer to our Heavenly Father brings so many benefits.  Perhaps consider making some changes today.