Normally in life we pray then we think and then we act. That is certainly the wise course of action when a decision must be made or wisdom is required. In fact, it could be accurately stated that after we pray and think, we should pray again before acting.
Having said this, there are times when the proper order should be that we act, and then pray whether we ever think or not. Those people in the southern United States who had only moments to act or face certain destruction saved their prayers until they got to where they were heading. Those who sat around praying for an answer as their house exploded around them are probably not here to tell us what that answer was.
There are times in this life when one must have confidence in their spiritual instinct. By this I mean believing that what one does when there is no time to think will be what God wants. I firmly believe that God is quite capable of ordering our steps whether we stop and pray first or no in certain situations. Of course if there is time we should pray first and act later; but in a crisis, we need to act and think it through at a later time.
If you saw a child about to dash out into the street to get a ball and also saw cars coming with no time to stop; instinct would tell you to ACT and ACT now to run and grab the child before he got run over. If driving along the Interstate and suddenly a truck comes flying across the median heading straight for you; you better make a snap decision as to what to do for there is no time to think it through.
Spiritual confidence comes from having a deep relationship with God resulting in absolute TRUST. This trust is both in the ability to receive instructions as well as belief that when the occasion calls for it, action based on spiritual instinct will be exactly what God wanted.
In no way am I advocating not praying for guidance, wisdom and direction for that is a vital part of our walk. But, when those times come up that are our equivalent to a category 5 tornado staring us in the face, we must have full confidence that whatever we DO, God will cover for us and make our choices right.
In April of 1979, long before there were Doppler radars and all the other things to warn people of a tornado, I knew there was a tornado about to smash into a guy's house I was visiting in Meridian Mississippi. Acting on spiritual instinct, I yelled at the guy to get under the dining room table while I raced out the front door, looked up at the tornado about to hit us and screamed at the top of my lungs "In the name of Jesus Christ BE GONE".
Guess what? That was 32 years ago and I AM STILL HERE! I believe I was able to rebuke that storm because we had no other choice at the time. I either had to put my faith on the line or we would die. I also believe I could yell at tornadoes all day long and end up being killed if it were not God's will at that moment. In 1979 there were no other options and my spiritual instinct directed me to do what I did.
Spiritual confidence springing from trust in one's spiritual instinct is available and vital in our walk with God. That doesn t mean we should go become official "storm chasers". I would leave that job to those with ice water running through their veins.
Too many times, people don't call on God unless it is for "big stuff". They are not in "relationship" with Him. They are simply an occasional visitor stopping by when they need something.
Usually, when a tragedy strikes, one does not have time to pray. However, then there are those who "pray without ceasing". Their life is "a prayer" to God meaning that they are in relationship with Him. They converse with Him frequently throughout the day... not on their knees necessarily but throughout the day as they go about the business of living. This is the way we must be for that is when we recognize His voice and can act accordingly... in an instant.