Conversing with God looks different for everyone, but at some time or other we all shoot arrow prayers heavenward. I do it often.
It happens when I’m traveling by plane and a spiritual conversation opens with a fellow passenger. On one occasion 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 before answering: “God, give me the right words.”
I shoot arrow prayers when driving down the highway. “God, safety.”
I shoot them when needing inspiration for my writing assignments: “God, creativity.”
I shoot them when I hear about another’s heartache: “God, comfort.”
Nehemiah did something similar one day while standing in the king’s presence. Months prior, he’d prayed, “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). Now he stood before the king, ready to present a request.
“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 emphasis mine).
Nehemiah had a split second to respond, so he wasted no time shooting an arrow prayer heavenward. Perhaps it sounded like, “God, help!” or “God, favor!”
God heard Nehemiah, and He hears us, too. Our prayers needn’t be long or fancy before He’ll listen. Sometimes an arrow prayer is all we can muster, and that’s okay. He responds to heartfelt, honest expressions of our need for His involvement in our lives regardless of how spiritual—or not—they sound.
Grace Fox is a career global worker and the author of nine books including Moving From Fear to Freedom: A Woman’s Guide to Peace in Every Situation. She’s a member of the “First 5” Bible study writing team for Proverbs 31 Ministries and a regular contributor to Guideposts’ annual devotional, Mornings With Jesus. She lives aboard a sailboat in Vancouver, British Columbia.