From Wine of Prayer (#555) bu Rabbi Avigdor Miller
There is a pasuk (verse) in Tehillim, “Yaancha Hashem b’yom tzara — Hashem will answer you on the day of distress.”
Now when it states He will answer you, it implies if you called out to Him, because that’s what the word answer means. But we see that not merely because you called out does He answer to you, because it states soon after “Yizkor kol minchosecha — He will remember all of your offerings — v’olascha yidashneh selah — and your korbanos olah, your burnt offerings He will accept.”
So we see [His answer is] in the merit of your service to him, that you demonstrated your devotion to Hashem at some previous time when you did not need any help, when it wasn’t a day of tzara. Because when you were not in a day of tzara you demonstrated devotion to Hashem, therefore on the day of tzara He is going to answer you. When you were in prosperity, and you were well and you were happy, still you remembered Hashem and you showed your devotion by coming and doing acts of service to Him, so when the time comes when you’ll cry out on the day of distress, so Hashem will answer you.
Despite all the merits you gained previously, you must still cry out to Him
However, we note that Hashem will answer you. It means despite the merit that you gained previously, despite the fact that you demonstrated your loyalty, your love of Hashem, and your devotion to Him previously, if a time will come when you need help, you have to ask for it. You must cry out and ask for it. Yaancha, He’s going to answer you on the day of distress. Which means despite all the menachos and all the minchos and all the service that you offered hitherto, all the merits and mitzvos you gained previously which make you deserving that Hashem should listen to your outcry, you must still cry out to Him. That’s a condition.
You say every day “V’oneh l’Amo Yisrael b’eis shavam eilav —He answers his people Yisrael at the time that they cry out to Him.” It doesn’t say merely He hastens to their succor, He is at hand to help them. It doesn’t say that. It says v’oneh, He is ready to answer them. When? B’eis shavam eilav, at the time that they cry out. And shavam means a great outcry. So we see it’s not sufficient merely to mumble a little prayer. It’s important to make a big outcry to Hashem.