Day 28 - Issue 38

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Nehemiah 2.4-5 NLT

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.”

This was a terrifying moment. King Artaxerxes noticed that Nehemiah was looking sad. He could tell that there was something troubling his wine taster but Nehemiah had to be very careful what he said. The King was extremely powerful and if he didn’t like the answer it could have been the end for Nehemiah. We then read that Nehemiah prayed. It must have been a quick one, indeed it is often described as an arrow prayer. In the previous chapter we saw Nehemiah praying at great length but now time is of the essence and he can only offer up the briefest prayer to God.

Arrow prayers are good. It is a blessing that in the midst of our busy lives we can offer to God brief prayers knowing that he will hear us. But it would be tragic if those were the only kind of prayers that we brought to God. It’s the same in any relationship. If the only way I communicated with my wife was by brief greetings as we walked past one another something would have gone very deeply wrong. But because we talk easily and at length with one another it is fine that some of our communications are incredibly brief. This was clearly the case in Nehemiah’s relationship with God. In chapter 1 he spoke at great length to God and over a number of days. His firmly established relationship with God meant that he knew he could speak to his heavenly father at any time. Like Nehemiah, God wants us to enjoy spending leisurely time with him in prayer but also offering the briefest of prayers on busy days.

QUESTION: When have arrow prayers been particularly important for you?

PRAYER: Thank you Lord that you love to hear our prayers, both on those days when we have plenty of time to spend with you and on those days when we are in a constant hurry. Amen

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