Several years ago I met a young mom in our church named Lisa whose father, Bjorn Pedersen, is the head of Prayer Watch International. On several occasions Bjorn spoke at PLC, and one of the most memorable things he told us was about shooting arrow prayers. These are short, quick prayers asking God for his favor, protection and direction.
Although Mark’s gospel only mentions a couple of occasions when Jesus prayed, we know prayer was more – much more- than just a quick arrow prayer up to heaven or an occasional request. Jesus’ prayers gave favor, protection and direction to every move he made! Mark 1:36-37 is a perfect example of this. When his disciples came looking for him to say, “Everyone is looking for you,” they most likely thought he would come running back to Capernaum. Instead, since he had spent time in prayer, Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come” (Mark 1:38).
Jesus knew his calling and his mission. But he also knew that to carry it out he needed the specific direction that only time with his Father would provide. I don’t know about you, but I don’t check with the Lord about my day’s agenda nearly often enough. Stuff comes up and I rush to do it! Not so with Jesus. “Everyone is looking for you,” he was told. So what? Not part of the plan; not going to happen.
A new book came in the mail for me today, Prayer by Timothy Keller. It’s not the first book I’ve ever bought on prayer, but given the lack of shelf space in my office, it may need to be the last. And, given Jesus’ example, I’m super excited, and more than a little challenged by a couple of lines on the back cover: “Prayer is simply the key to everything we need to do and be in life. We must learn to pray. We have to.”
So it seems, my friends, this blogger is going back to the school room!
Oh, and could you shoot an arrow prayer or two for me?