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The Arrow Prayer

December 19, 2012

As Christians, we are called to a prayerful life, to be in constant communication with the Father as we go about our days.

This poses a particular challenge to lawyers. The lives we lead are not contemplative. Though analytical, we are men and women of action – in some sense, the warriors of our time. Decision-makers, problem-solvers, we are individuals upon whom often great responsibility rests.

Our days swirl around us. People pass in and out of our offices; deadlines press upon us; phone calls must be made and returned, witnesses prepared, Court appearances met, meetings conducted, documents reviewed and signed.

Because God has been gracious enough to lend us His strength, we frequently fall into the error of proceeding without His guidance. We wade in as best we can. True enough, life gives us little pause.

With this in mind, consider the “arrow prayer”.

Around 445 BC, Nehemiah, a Jewish captive in Persian King Artaxerxes I’s court, became convinced the long abandoned security wall around Jerusalem should be repaired. Nehemiah’s request to the king that he be permitted to undertake this task is recorded:

…[T]he king said to me, ‘Why is your face sad, since you are not sick? This is nothing but sorrow of heart.’

So I became dreadfully afraid, and said to the king, ‘May the king live forever! Why should my face not be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ tombs, lies waste, and its gates are burned with fire?’

Then the king said to me, ‘What do you request?’

So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, ‘If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, I ask that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ tombs, that I may rebuild it’ ” (Neh. 2: 2-5).

Succinct and to the point, the brief prayer Nehemiah prayed between the king’s question and his own response has been termed by scholars the “arrow prayer”.

King Artaxerxes I did issue the decree Nehemiah requested. Unique in prophetic importance, that decree marked the beginning of the “seventy weeks” forecast by Daniel which precisely predicted the year of the Lord’s passion.

The space between heartbeats. Sometimes all the time we have. Worth extending to the Lord, nonetheless.

READERS CAN FIND MY VIEWS ON ABUSE AND ABUSE-RELATED ISSUES AT ANNA WALDHERR A Voice Reclaimed, Surviving Child Abuse  http://www.avoicereclaimed

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