Thursday, January 19

Arrow prayers

Scripture: Matthew 14

Matthew 14:30–31 But when he saw the strong wind he became afraid. And starting to sink, he cried out, “Lord, save me!” 31 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him, saying to him, “You of little faith, why did you doubt?”


In the middle of the night, Jesus’ disciples were rowing against the wind when he came to them, walking on the water. Peter said, “Lord, if it’s you, bid me come to you.” 

“Come,” Jesus said.

And Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water toward Jesus. Then he “saw the wind”—no doubt the waves and spray were hitting him and he suddenly became afraid. Peter cried, “Lord, save me.”

It’s a short prayer—only 3 words. But it was enough. Jesus reached out his hand and caught him.


I’ve heard them called “arrow prayers.” Short prayers that you whisper or say (or cry out) in the moment. Jesus hears arrow prayers. Don’t think that you have to multiply words to be heard; Jesus taught against that in Matthew 6:7-8. Short and simple is enough. 

Another example is the prayer of the tax collector in Luke 18:13, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus said that man went home justified before God. Only 7 words—only 6 in the Greek. It was enough.

I shoot up lots of arrow prayers during the day. 

  • When I think of people or situations—Lord, have mercy. Save us. 
  • When I read or listen to the news—Lord have mercy. Save us.
  • When I encounter people or problems—Lord have mercy. Save us. 
  • When I need help, which is often—Lord, help me.

Life is a conversation with God. That conversation doesn’t happen only in prayer closets or churches. It happens on stormy seas and in the midst of busy daily life. 

Pray arrow prayers. Short and simple. All day. 

“Lord, save me.” 

Prayer: I love you Lord. I’m so grateful you hear my prayers, even the short and simple ones that I shoot up all day long. Help me today to enjoy a running conversation with you.