Sleeves and Arrow Prayers

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2Sam22/ Nehemiah 2 “Sleeves and Arrow Prayers”

Sometimes like Nehemiah and Timothy we face the same presence of fear which is revealed in our countenance.  While Timothy lived centuries later the advice is the same: 2Ti 1:7For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.

Four months into Nehemiah’s fasting and praying regimen he entered the king’s presence. Now either Nehemiah felt it was time for God to act and he chose to step out in faith or the king was just plain perceptive. Whatever it was the king was alarmed at Nehemiah’s countenance which he perceived as sadness of heart. Truly we often wear our heart on our sleeve exposing our emotions and making ourselves vulnerable. Children do the same. Be alert to their countenance just as this king was to Nehemiah’s countenance.  

Like this king, we have the power of life and death to a child’s reaction and actions as we act and react. Nehemiah, as the king’s cupbearer knew this too well. Nehemiah thought he had covered his emotions but like children who also try to hide their emotions, he was unsuccessful. Watch and be aware of children’s emotions and countenances.

But once the door was open Nehemiah did what was very ordinary to him: he prayed to the God of heaven. We want our children to do the same. Perhaps, Nehemiah, in his quiet time he had come across God’s challenge to Moses:  “Who gave a mouth to man…is it not I the Lord?” and memorized those words for such a time as this. Nehemiah was saying in his heart; God you can do this; I am your servant! We want our children to do the same. Praying should be to them like breathing and we set the example when we too face fearful times and face them with our arrow prayers.

Nehemiah had studied the scriptures. He knew the words of David:  “In my distress I called to the Lord; I called to my God. From his heavenly temple he heard my voice;he listened to my cry for help.” [2Sam 22] Teach your child to memorize scriptures such as this to help them when they are afraid like Nehemiah was.

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