I want to take a minute and give a shout out to the pop-up prayers in our lives. Theses are the little prayers uttered either moments before or during times of conflict, trial or fear in our lives. These are the prayers that are no more than a sentence long or at times can even be reduced to one word. Prayers such as “Lord help me”, “Thank you Jesus”, “Ok Lord, here we go” or sometimes as simple as “Lord?” are powerful prayers that should not be minimized in their effectiveness and reverence. Of course these prayers cannot substitute for a healthy prayer life, however, they are short and powerful communications with God and play an important part in our daily lives.
Perhaps the most powerful example of a pop-up prayer in the bible is that of Nehemiah. As Nehemiah is standing before the king, Nehemiah has placed his nation, his worship and even his life on the line to do the will of God. Full of fear and anxiety when asked what do you want by the king of Persia, Nehemiah knew that he was about to petition the man who could end his life. Before Nehemiah answered the king, while in conversation with the king, he prayed to the God of heaven. This gut wrenching, anxious and fear driven prayer reached the ears of God. The king would go on to grant Nehemiah’s request and God would ultimately hear the few words uttered by his servant and deliver a favourable response. God hears the utterances and groans of the faithful.
There are some implications, however, that need to be identified when examining the pop-up prayer. First, they are not a replacement for a more lengthy, disciplined time with God. In Nehemiah chapter 1 and 9, we see the depth of Nehemiah’s prayer life, which is the foundation for his pop-up prayer. Because Nehemiah spent time with God he was able to have an open and effective dialogue with him, even if it is only for a moment. Second, these prayers are not meant to replace hard work. There is no value in using these prayers if you sit down to take a test and cry out to God “please help me” if you did not first study for the test. Before Nehemiah came before the king he had already planned out what he needed and what request he would make. Pop-up prayers do not replace hard work. Finally, these prayers may be our purest expression of our true heart towards God. These are not the prayers that take place after a time of sharing or during a set aside time in the morning. They are the prayers of the here and now. They require no form and have no rules. They are prayers of the heart! And as our Father, that is exactly what God cares about, the heart.
Find a place for pop-up prayers in your life. Understand that they are not any less powerful or effective. God desires to hear your heart…the good and the bad. So whether you are stuck in traffic, at a job interview, dealing with your kids or just simply don’t know what to do, cry out! God loves the pop-up prayer.