I was what you might consider an average athlete when I was growing up…at least in most sports. Some sports, like track and field events or swimming, I would say I was above average in skill. However, basketball and golf (to name a couple) were sports that I didn’t quite tip even the “average” scale. But…all-in-all…I wasn’t all that bad in most sport-related activities. But, there was one area I shockingly excelled in. I had no reason to really be good at it, because I had never practiced a day in my life. My physical education teacher taught me the skills necessary to get started, and somehow I did well from the get-go. The sport? ARCHERY! Who woulda guessed? Certainly not me. I don’t know if it was just good aim or my precision with a bow or simply my ability to maneuver the arrows in such a way to get them to the middle of the target. Whatever the case…I was fairly good at shooting arrows.
As I learned in a staff devotion this week at work, I’m pretty good with shooting out “arrow prayers” too. Mike shared with our team that arrow prayers are those quick little prayer snippets that we toss out, often on the fly, when we find ourselves in need of quick help…
Heal me Lord!
Protect my children!
Save my marriage!
Take this cancer!
Give me a job!
Help my breaking heart!
I bet you’ve tossed out a few arrow prayers of your own if truth be known. Am I right?
One of the most desperate arrow prayers I’ve ever prayed came within minutes of learning of my previous husband’s suicide. I simply prayed, “Help me Lord!” Those were the only prayer words I could muster. I prayed those same three words each day for what seemed like forever.
Gradually, those three words grew into longer sentences…then paragraphs…then even lengthier times of prayer with the Lord. But, it’s not the duration of the prayer that God is concerned with, it’s the heart from which the prayer comes. Are we using it like a bargaining tool with God, “If I pray this, then He will do this.”? Or is this simply all that our heart can mutter in prayer at this particular time? For me, it was the latter. I was a broken, new widow, still in shock over the loss of my husband. In the days and weeks that followed, I didn’t have the strength to pray anything else.
But, God met me right where I was at in that moment. My “arrow prayer” reached the Target! God heard my “Help me Lord!” My prayer was purely from the heart…even if broken.
You might not be suffering the same loss, but for whatever reason, you may similarly be able to offer brief arrow prayers right now in this season of life. Don’t let length stop you from talking to God. He’s not looking for wordy, fleshly prayers. He’s not asking for perfection. You don’t need a seminary degree. Just talk to Him…from the heart! He loves and hears and responds to all of our heart-launched prayers…even arrow prayers!
The LORD has heard my plea; the LORD accepts my prayer. ~Psalm 6:9 ESV