When I am being oppressed, when I am losing things that I value, when those coming against me are stronger than I am, and at the end of the day my suffering overwhelms me – I turn to God for help.
After Ehud died, the people of Israel sinned against the Lord again. So the Lord let them be conquered by Jabin, a Canaanite king who ruled in the city of Hazor. The commander of his army was Sisera, who lived at Harosheth-of-the-Gentiles. Jabin had nine hundred iron chariots, and he ruled the people of Israel with cruelty and violence for twenty years. Then the people of Israel cried out to the Lord for help. – Judges 4:1-4 GNT
He will hear me if I am repentant, humble and ready to move forward to doing what He asks me to do. When I feel He will not it is because I know I have not met Him in transparency and will find a shortcut by asking someone else to pray for me.
Simon said to Peter and John, “Please pray to the Lord for me, so that none of these things you spoke of will happen to me.” – Acts 8:24 GNT
Simon was the sorcerer who wanted to follow Jesus but ultimately wanted to know how much would he have to pay to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. He was supposed to turn to the Lord and ask for forgiveness but chose instead to ask a human being to act as his mediator. I am pretty sure that Peter knew what was going on and did not pray for him. We never heard of this man again.
When it comes to discernment and understanding, Jesus pulled Himself away to find the will of God. The first instance of this in His minstry was choosing the twelve to follow Him.
Then Jesus went up a hill and called to himself the men he wanted. They came to him, and he chose twelve, whom he named apostles. “I have chosen you to be with me,” he told them. “I will also send you out to preach, and you will have authority to drive out demons.” – Mark 3:13-15 GNT
This came at a critical point in His ministry – He had offended the traditions of the religious leadership and the crowds that followed were really not interested in spiritual things. He responded with prayer and chose the leaders He would begin to train.
“A set measure of bruising of ourselves cannot be prescribed, but it must be so far as (1) that we may prize Christ above all, and see that a Saviour must be had; and (2) that we reform that which is amiss, though it be to the cutting off of our right hand, or pulling out of our right eye. There is a dangerous slighting of the work of humiliation, some alleging this for a pretence for their casual dealing with their own hearts, that Christ will not break the bruised reed; but such must know that every sudden terror and short grief is not that which makes us bruised reeds; not a little `bowing down our heads like a bulrush’ (Isa. 58:5), but a working our hearts to such a grief as will make sin more odious unto us than punishment, until we offer a `holy violence’ against it. Else, favouring ourselves, we make work for God to bruise us, and for sharp repentance afterwards. It is dangerous, I confess, in some cases, with some spirits, to press too much and too long this bruising, because they may die under the wound and burden before they be raised up again. Therefore it is good in mixed assemblies to mingle comfort that every soul may have its due portion. But if we have this for a foundation truth, that there is more mercy in Christ than sin in us, there can be no danger in thorough dealing. It is better to go bruised to heaven than sound to hell. Therefore let us not take off ourselves too soon, nor pull off the plaster before the cure be wrought, but keep ourselves under this work till sin be the sourest, and Christ the sweetest, of all things. And when God’s hand is upon us in any way, it is good to divert our sorrow for other things to the root of all, which is sin. Let our grief run most in that channel, that as sin bred grief, so grief may consume sin.” – Richard Sibbes