Devotional by Jeremy Fuller
Read: Nehemiah 2:1-8
"Then the king said unto me, For what dost thou make request? So, I prayed to the God of heaven." (Nehemiah 2:4)
Nehemiah was a man of prayer. The first chapter of the Old Testament book that bears his name is eleven verses long. Seven of those eleven verses are an earnest prayer for his backslidden nation. A careful study of that prayer will show that he was a deeply spiritual man well versed in the theology of the Jewish religion.
His prayer in chapter two is a different kind of prayer – it was an inaudible prayer. It was a prayer that likely lasted no more than 5 or 10 seconds. And yet it was nonetheless a worthwhile prayer in the eyes and ears of Almighty God. It was an Arrow of Prayer!
The devil effectively keeps many from the place of prayer because he erroneously suggests that unless we spend 30 minutes or an hour in prayer, we may as well not pray. No doubt, there are times through the week that we need to tarry unhurriedly before the Lord in prayer. But how about those Arrows of Prayer? There is no rule in the Bible against brevity in prayer.
In fact, some of the most powerful prayers preserved for us in the Bible would have taken less than 30 seconds to pray. Consider the prayer of Eliezer of Damascus, Abraham’s eldest servant, when he went to Mesopotamia to find a wife for Isaac. His prayer recorded in Genesis 24:12-14 is 110 words long. And the Bible indicates, “before he had done speaking” God sent Isaac’s bride, Rebekah, to him in direct answer to prayer.
Elijah’s prayer on top of Mount Carmel was 86 words in length. Instead of being punctuated with a fervent Amen, Elijah’s prayer was interrupted by fire falling out of the sky. Elijah’s arrow of prayer had found its mark.
There is an unnamed father in Mark’s gospel who had a demon-possessed son. The demon would often cause the helpless boy to be cast into the fire and waters with the intent to destroy the child. This distraught father’s prayer was only 7 words long. He prayed, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief (9:24).” Jesus had compassion on him and his emaciated son. He cast the dumb spirit out and forbid him to ever enter the child again. The Arrow of Prayer, wet with tears, struck the bull’s eye.
Even a prayer for salvation may be a swift Arrow of Prayer. In Luke 23:42, we read the penitent thief’s cry for mercy: “And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” A prayer 10 words long changed a poor lost sinner’s destiny for eternity. Jesus answered immediately. “And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.” Never estimate the power of a single prayer based on its length alone; if it is sincerely offered to God, it is worthwhile.
It is a common mistake to think that our prayers grow stronger and more persuasive based on their length. Jesus refuted that idea in Matthew 6:7: “But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen [do]: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking.” Our Lord and Father does not weigh our prayers on a Divine Prayer Scale or wait until they reach a certain weight to finally answer them.
When in the thick of things and in desperate need of divine aid, shoot an Arrow of Prayer to the throne of grace. It may fly through the heavens as silently as Nehemiah’s prayer. No problem. God specializes in that kind of praying.
A prayer for today: “Father in heaven, help me live today in such oneness with you that my arrows will not quiver on the bow of prayer! You have promised to help me whenever I am in need. I will look to you with confidence at all times. Amen!”
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