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As I understand them, "arrow prayers" are very short, spur-of-the-moment prayers that ask for God's help, guidance, or involvement in response or reaction to specific immediate situations. They are not long and comprehensive, or the product of extended thought or contemplation. They are meant to be used in connection with life events as they happen or occur. An example of such a prayer from the Bible would be the mental prayer that Nehemiah made to God (although the exact content or wording of that prayer is not recorded) while he was talking with the king of Persia (where the exiled inhabitants of Judah were living), before making his request to the king to be allowed to return to Judah and rebuild it (Nehemiah 2:4-5).
Arrow prayers are short prayers that one sends up to heaven at any time and any place. The best ones are just a few words in length like, "Lord save me!" (Peter's words as he was sinking beneath the waves, in Matthew 14:30). An Arrow Prayer may come from the classic case in Nehemiah 2:4 as Mr. Maas said. This is a crucial moment. The king can dismiss him from service and banish him forever from his presence. You must admit, his openness could be construed to put some blame on the king for Jerusalem's dire situation since it resulted directly from the king's policy. "The king said to me, 'What is it you want?' Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king...." (Nehemiah 2:4-5a) The king asks what he wants, and -- before he answers -- Nehemiah prays a quick and silent prayer (sometimes called an "arrow prayer") to God for help. Then he answers the king. You've prayed prayers like that. "Lord, help me! Lord, save me! Lord, give me strength!" But you may not have realized that "arrow prayers" are among the great prayers of the Bible prayed by God's servants for thousands of years when in dire straits. It is important to observe, however, that Nehemiah's "arrow prayer" is not the extent of his prayer life, but rather the overflow. Nehemiah has agonized in prayer over this issue for days and months.The "arrow prayer" is but a continuation of Nehemiah's conversation and partnership with God about this issue. In fact, this emergency prayer was backed up by 4 whole months of fasting and prayer (Neh. 1:1; 2:1)! See https://www.cs.mcgill.ca/~rwest/wikispeedia/wpcd/wp/h/Hebrew_calendar.htm Nehemiah was in the habit of sending up these quick "telegraph prayers" to the Lord (Neh. 4:4; 5:9; 6:9, 14; 13:14, 22, 29, 31). In this book, copyright 2000 Gruman–Trinkner A Special Gift: A Devotional for Mothers of Children with Unique Challenges, a writer says, “A friend of mine told me she shoots up arrow prayers all day long. In confusion, I asked what an ‘arrow prayer’ was. An arrow prayer is a quick prayer shot straight up just like an archer would shoot an arrow into the sky. The release is quick.” Arrow prayers are an effective means of receiving God’s help at a moment’s notice in the middle of any life situation. Arrow prayers are quick short sentence prayers asking for God’s help while we’re in the middle of a crisis, problem or daily activity. Other common names for arrow prayers include bullet prayers, flash prayers, prayer on the run, popcorn prayers, microwave prayers, and ejaculatory prayer. (The Latin root word jaculum means arrow, spear, dart or missile or a weapon thrown quickly through the air.) The Bible says, “The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city of Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it.’” (Nehemiah 2:4,5 NIV) This passage shows that in the middle of a crucial conversation with the king, Nehemiah mentally paused to shoot a quick prayer up to God. Although the Bible doesn’t record exactly what the arrow prayer might have been, it’s easy for us to imagine a quick sentence Nehemiah might have prayed. Maybe he prayed, “God of heaven, give me favor and success” since the Bible records that these were things that he had prayed while preparing to talk to the king. (See Nehemiah 1:11) Or maybe he prayed, “Help me find the right words to say.” Or he may have prayed, “Give me the courage and boldness to speak.”
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