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Religion: A Pastor Ponders

Arrow Prayers

By Pastor William Jenkins

June 11, 2007

League City News - League City Methodist Church Picture

While in college someone came and spoke to us about “Arrow Prayers”. The idea was to aim a prayer at someone you are approaching on the street or waiting next to at a traffic light or standing behind in the check out lines. Then watch to see if there is any reaction from the person prayed for. It was an amazing experiment that brought surprising results.

In Nehemiah 2:1-9 Nehemiah is about to make a remarkable request of the king of Persia. As he walks toward the king he has no time to kneel or to close his eyes or fold his hands in prayer. All he could do was to pray in his heart. He says, “Then I prayed to the God of heaven.” We are not told what he prayed. He may have prayed, “O, dear God, don’t let him kill me”, or “Lord, give me courage to follow through with what’s on my heart”, or his request of the king and his prayer were one, “I want to rebuild the city of my fathers.” It was a specific prayer targeted for a specific need. It was an Arrow Prayer.

“Shotgun” prayers are not aimed at anything in particular. They are thrown out in the hope they will hit and stick to something. “God bless everybody everywhere” is a shotgun prayer. “God bless my best friend who is struggling through a difficult divorce” is an arrow prayer.

I have been amused at the encounter between Jesus and blind Bartimaeus of Jericho. The blind man makes a heroic effort to get Jesus’ attention. Then as he stands before Jesus, Jesus asks him, “What do you want me to do for you?” One might think it was obvious what he wanted and that it was a bit cruel to tease a blind man. If Bartimaeus had said, “Bless me, Jesus!” that would have been a shotgun prayer. He could have been blessed in many different ways. Jesus wanted an Arrow Prayer and He got one when Bartimaeus said “I want to see!”

Try experimenting with Arrow Prayers.

League City United Methodist Church is located at 1411 Main Street (FM 518), one block east of Interstate 45. For information, call the church offices at 281-332-1557 or visit the website at


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