Then the king said to me, "What do you request?" So I prayed to the God of heaven. —Nehemiah 2:4
For several months, Nehemiah had prayed for an opportunity to be used in the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
When the king noticed Nehemiah wasn't his usual happy self, he asked, "Why are you so sad?" Nehemiah described the condition of Jerusalem—the walls were in rubble, the gates had been burned, and the people were demoralized. "How can I be happy when I have heard that news?"
So the king said, "What is your request?" This was the opportunity Nehemiah had been asking for. Aware of how momentous the moment was, he offered a quick prayer to the God of heaven. The king probably didn't even notice the slight pause, but God did.
It is not the length of our prayers that makes them effective —it's the relationship we have with God that counts.
"The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much" (James 5:16). Nehemiah's prayer had to be short and silent, but it was effective. God heard and responded. What a comfort to realize He hears our silent prayers.
If you don't have a relationship with God, there is only one prayer He is interested in, and that is, "God, be merciful to me, a sinner." But once you have prayed that prayer—then as a child of God, you can offer up those quick prayers any time you are in need. If you're in that right relationship, these short prayers can be dynamite.
Father, we thank You that You do answer prayer—even those quick prayers that spontaneously arise out of weakness or turmoil. In Jesus' name, amen.