I heard about a young boy who was observed one day in church by his pastor praying with a lot of intensity. The pastor heard him say several times, "Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo." When the service was over the minister said to the boy, "Hey, I was glad to see you praying so intensely, but tell me, why did you keep saying, 'Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo'?" The little boy answered, "Well, you see, pastor, I just took my geography examination in school and I have been praying for God to make Tokyo the capital of France."
I'm afraid that some people have an understanding of prayer like that. We use it only in emergencies and we pray only when our backs are against the wall. I think that many today look upon God as a divine spare tire.
As we know, a spare tire is not really thought about until suddenly we have a flat tire on the road. Then we want the spare tire to be in good condition, ready for use. In the same way, we sometimes forget about God and prayer during all the times when things go well. But in an emergency we want God to be right on hand, immediately ready to hear and help.
The scripture teaches something different. God desires fellowship with His Creation. In other words, God wants us to talk with Him on a regular basis; to pray often, not only in times of emergency.
Allow me to ask a personal question. Is God, for you, a heavenly spare tire, to be used only in emergencies? How often are we like that little boy praying, "Tokyo, Tokyo, Tokyo?" May God teach us today what it means to really pray.