Commentary: Aren’t you thankful God is just a prayer away?


The other day, I briefly misplaced my cell phone. I didn’t see the phone in my car door’s side pocket where I sometimes place it when driving, and I thought I left it at home. But where at home did I leave it? And what if it’s not there?

I asked my wife to dial my number and, thankfully, my phone rang right beside me. The phone had simply slipped behind some papers and out of sight.

Temporary anxiety kicked in at the possibility of losing my 6,940 photos and 247 videos. Apparently, I momentarily suffered from nomophobia, a term used to describe the anxiety people experience when they don’t have access to their mobile phone or to the internet.

Why are we so attached? Psychologist Michelle Leno explains that phones are our miniature computers used for business or for internet searches.

“We use them to stay connected to our family,” she explained.

When we can’t use them immediately, we become anxious because we feel like we’re missing out on something.”

We like to stay connected to all things at all times, she said.

For some people, cell phones are not just contemporary conveniences. They are life savers.

For example, in October 2013, a man entered a Hess gas station in Winter Garden, Florida, and asked for assistance. Then he pulled a gun and demanded the clerks open the safe. When the two employees had trouble with the safe, the gunman pulled the trigger and left the store.

When police and paramedics arrived, one of the clerks complained of a pain in his chest. He pulled his cell phone from his pocket and there was a bullet lodged in it. That’s when he realized he had been shot, but his phone had stopped the bullet. The screen was shattered, but his life was spared.

In May 2002, Leonardo Diaz, a Columbian hiker, decided to do some serious mountain climbing with friends. Their goal was to reach the summit of the Nevado del Ruiz, a volcano in the Andes.

On the second day of the climb, a major blizzard hit. Diaz lost sight of his friends and became separated from them. Although not initially worried, the novice climber soon began to run out of rations and suffer from the bitter cold.

Although he had his cellphone in his backpack, his pre-paid minutes had already expired. With no signal, Diaz realized he was not going to make it.  As he lay in the frigid snow preparing to die, his cell phone rang. It was a phone solicitor in Bogota wanting to know if Diaz was interested in purchasing more minutes!  

“We called him to remind him that his cell phone was out of minutes,” said Maria del Pilar Bastos with what was then Bell South. “He said it was the work of an angel, because he was lost in the Andes.”

Diaz described his location to the caller and asked that his family be notified so they could dispatch a rescue team. The Bell South operators, who could tell from his voice that hypothermia had already begun to set in, called Diaz every 30 minutes to keep him awake and to maintain his hope of survival. Seven hours later, rescuers reached him.

Mark Ashton-Smith was kayaking off England’s coast when the seas got rough, and he capsized. He was able to grab his kayak and hang on for dear life.  He reached for his cell phone and his first impulse was to call his father. His father, a military officer, was training British troops 3,500 miles away.

The father’s phone rang, he heard the distress in his son’s voice and relayed his son’s mayday call to the nearest Coast Guard post, which was less than a mile away. Within 12 minutes of capsizing in the water, Mark was rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter.

What is your first response when danger comes? Do we immediately call on our heavenly Father, who invites us to “Call unto me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things which you know not?” (Jeremiah 33:3).

As someone recently posted, “God created the first mobile phone. He named it prayer. It never drops calls, and you never have to recharge it. Use it anywhere, anytime!”

Aren’t you thankful God is just a prayer away?


David L. Chancey, the Writing Pastor, recently retired after over 24 years as pastor of McDonough Road Baptist Church, Fayetteville, GA. He looks forward to preaching opportunities and expanding his writing ministry. Visit to see more of his writing.