Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
— Philippians 4:6
Do you remember when you first got behind the wheel of a car? You had to consciously think about everything you did. Okay, let's see . . . key in the ignition, look over your shoulder, and pull out. You had to think about it. It was challenging at first. But after a while, you got it down, and now it comes naturally. You don't even think about driving anymore. You just get in the car and drive. It's a conditioned reflex.
A conditioned reflex is something you learn. You teach yourself to do it, and through repetition, you find yourself doing it naturally. Then there is a normal reflex, which comes naturally. For instance, if you touch a hot iron, you will pull your hand away quickly because it's hot. A child will do that too.
We also have normal and conditioned reflexes to fear and worry. Our natural tendency when we are in trouble is not to pray but to worry. Something happens, and we begin going through scenarios that stack up in our minds like dominoes. What if this happens? What if that happens? What if this other thing happens? The normal reflex when we are in trouble is to worry.
But what we need to teach ourselves to do is to pray. That is a conditioned reflex. It is not what we naturally want to do. When we get bad news, what should we do? We should stop and pray. That is what the Scriptures tell us to do.
Often when we are facing adversity, our first instinct is to turn to people for help. And there is no question that God can work through people. He can provide through family and friends and help us. But ultimately we should turn to God when trouble comes.