Ever had one of these kinds of prayers… You were right in the middle of crisis… the situation demanded action be taken – that an answer be provided… You didn’t know what to do or what to say… So you shot up an unspoken prayer for help and guidance to God… It may have been as brief as “Oh God, help me now!” or simply, “Jesus!!!”
Does God hear those kinds of prayers? Does He answer them?
Well this morning during my time of “coffee with the Lord” I read about a prayer like that in the Bible (and God did answer it – and remarkably!)
It was preceded, however, by an intense, sincere, well-crafted, deliberate prayer. Nehemiah held an important position in the court of a pagan king, Artaxerxes, king of Babylon. He received news of the sad state of affairs among the exiles who had returned to Jerusalem, in his homeland. It was a humble prayer of intercession, of repentance, and appeal for God to help his people, grant forgiveness, and fulfill His promises! (You should read it – it’s in Nehemiah 1:4-11 – it’s really a model prayer!)
Heart sick, and burdened with concern, Nehemiah sought to fulfill his duties as cupbearer to the king. One day soon thereafter, Nehemiah “took up the wine and gave it to the king.” Artaxerxes, noticed the sad expression on Nehemiah’s face (an inappropriate and dangerous way to appear before the king!). The king asked, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart!”
“Then the king said to me, ‘What are you requesting?’ So I prayed to the God heaven!”
In that crisis moment, Nehemiah did what many of us have done in an emergency situation – “He shot up a silent, unspoken, passionate prayer to God for help, guidance, and wisdom! His prayer is not recorded in Scripture (although his earlier prayer was recorded in the Bible)! This prayer on the spot, I believe, was a prayer for favor with the King – A passionate prayer for help in the moment!
God heard it! And God answered it – remarkable answered it! God gave Nehemiah favor with the king! The king granted Nehemiah a leave of absence to return to Jerusalem and help his people. He also granted Nehemiah abundant provision for the rebuilding of Jerusalem out of Babylon’s treasuries! Here’s how Nehemiah put it in his own words: “The king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me!” (From Nehemiah 1)
Here’s the deal then it seems to me… God hears and answers both kinds of prayer – those that that we thoughtfully and carefully craft and utter with sincere hearts of faith, and those that we passionately pray in a crisis within our hearts that are often unspoken! Don’t get the idea your prayer words have to be carefully crafted… Your Heavenly Father will hear and answer your prayer either way when you cry out to Him!