After Pharaoh realized what a mistake he made letting the Jews free, he went with his finest chariots and army to bring them back to Egypt. At that point, the Jews had been traveling for three days, and Pharaoh and his army were able to catch up to them in only one day.
When Bnai Israel saw the Egyptian army approaching them, surrounded by the sea, they felt utter distress and hopelessness. Why had Hashem caused them even more suffering, wasn’t their suffering in Egypt enough?
In Egypt, Bnai Israel had suffered tremendously and cried out to Hashem endlessly. Their teffillot - prayers- were filled with intense kavona- strength. However, once they were freed, there teffilot were not as strong and they neglected them more so. Hashem missed hearing teffilot from His children so He called Pharaoh down from Egypt to pursue them once more. Immediately after Bnai Israel saw Pharaoh and his army approaching, they did teshuva and cried out to Hashem to be saved; thereby, Hashem split open the sea for them.Tefillot represents our closeness and relationship with Hashem. In order to strength our teffillot and connect with Hashem, we need to recognize that Hashem brings us trials and tribulations in order for us to get us closer to Him. We tend to think that Hashem is punishing us when we are struck with hardship, but rather, this is Hashem reminding us that He desires a stronger more connected relationship with Him. Let us all strive to daven to Hashem in times of strength and in times of weakness with as much kavona and emunah as possible.