Conversing with God doesn’t have to be formal or complicated. Sometimes it resembles what we call an “arrow prayer”—brief and pointed. Here’s an example, taken from Nehemiah’s life:
“The king asked, ‘Well, how can I help you?’ With a prayer to the God of heaven, I replied, ‘If it please the king, and if you are pleased with me, your servant, send me to Judah to rebuild the city where my ancestors are buried’” (Nehemiah 2:4-5).
Nehemiah had a split second to pray before he responded to the king’s question. What might his arrow prayer have said? Perhaps it was, “God, give me the right words,” or “Help!” Maybe it was a compressed version of a request he’d prayed months before—“Please grant me success today by making the king favorable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me” (Nehemiah 1:11).
I shoot arrow prayers regularly. It happens often when I’m traveling by plane and a spiritual conversation opens with a fellow passenger. On one instance a woman beside me said, “I’m on a personal quest. I’m searching for peace. Have you found it?”
I shot an arrow prayer: “God, give me the right words.” I launched into answering her question trusting the Holy Spirit to guide my thoughts and my mouth.
I shoot arrow prayers when driving down the highway. “God, safety.”
I shoot them when I feel completely exhausted: “God, strength.”
I shoot them when I don’t know how to pray: “God, help.”
Our prayers needn’t be long and sprinkled with big words in order for God to listen. They just need to be heartfelt, honest expressions of our need for His involvement in our lives. Sometimes arrow prayers are all we can muster and that’s okay. God hears and answers even the briefest cries for help.
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