I woke up in the middle of the night last night and among many other things, that young lady came to mind and I prayed for her. Then I opened my Kindle to read something from God's Word, as I usually do in such situations, and amazingly this was the verse I read (Isaiah 26:16), followed by some comments by the great Charles Spurgeon:
LORD, in trouble have they visited thee, they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them.
That is true of hypocrites; but it is also sweetly true of some whom God is bringing to himself. Child after child has died, loss after loss has broken down the business; now they turn to God. Oh, it is a blessed loss that makes us find our God! What we gain is infinitely more than what we have lost. What a mercy that God is willing to hear us in the time of trouble, that all our putting-off and rejection of him do not make him put us off! I remember one who wished to hire a conveyance to go to a certain town, and he went to the place where he could hire it, and asked the price; he thought that it was too much, so he went round the town to other people, and found that he could not get it any cheaper; but when he came back to the place visited first, the man said to him, “Oh, no, no! I will not let my horses to you. You have been round to everybody else, and now you come back to me because you cannot get what you want elsewhere; I will have nothing to do with you.” That is man’s way of dealing with his fellow man; but it is not the Lord’s method of dealing with us. When you and I have gone round to everybody else, the Lord still welcomes us when we come back to him. Yes, just as harbours of refuge are meant for ships in distress that would not have put in there except for the storm and danger, such is the mercy of the Lord God in Jesus Christ. If you are forced to accept it, you are still welcome to it. If you are driven to it by stress of weather, you may come in, for the harbour was made for just such as you are.
Wow, can you believe that amazing "coincidence" of God's providence? It could be helpful for my friend on the plane, of course, but I believe it was given to me for all of you to read and consider also. I think we all struggle to some degree with the fact that we pray a lot more in times of crisis and wonder if God will hear us if we haven't prayed as much as we should have before. But we need to realize that He allows difficulties (like a scary situation) in our lives precisely because He loves us and wants us to talk to Him more. "Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Rom. 10:13), and the "whoever" includes even those who are calling for the first time, or for the first time in a long time.
Consider Hebrews 12:5-11:
You might say, if you're thinking along with me, "Isn't that passage written to those who already believe in Christ?" Yes, but like Spurgeon wisely says at the beginning of the quote above, it is also "sweetly true of some God is bringing to himself." Many people have found that when they cry out to God in a time of crisis, even for the first time or the first time in a long time, He sends a person or message to them that will lead them into further knowledge and understanding of His truth. That's because He has already chosen to love them before the foundation of the world and planned to adopt them into His family through the redeeming work of Christ.
Ephesians 1:3-14 tells us about all that:
So don't let the fact that you haven't prayed enough keep you from doing so in the middle of a problem. If you do find yourself talking to God, it's probably because He loves you and is bringing you into a relationship with Him. You were created for that purpose and will only find your ultimate satisfaction and reason for living when you embrace it. As Augustine said (and experienced personally), "Our hearts are restless until they rest in Him." And as Blaise Pascal wrote, "What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself."