I will be the first to admit that I am not the best with prayer. Do I pray, of course! I pray all day long. But my prayers are short. They don’t come easily to me, and I have a hard time trying to express what is on my heart and mind. God knows, sure, but to pray we must communicate with Him, not just assume he knows what we want, and we must do so on a daily basis.
Throughout the Old Testament, we find men asking God for help in a time of great need. Sometimes these prayers are quite lengthy, but I love the example from the life of Nehemiah. It shows that a prayer doesn’t always need to be long to be effective. Nehemiah was cupbearer to Artaxerxes, and appeared before the king looking downhearted (a big “no-no”). When the king asked him why he was so upset, he was afraid, but he overcame it and told the king about the desolate state of Jerusalem. The king asked him what he wanted. Nehemiah records what he did in the instant before he replied
“So I prayed to the God of heaven.” Nehemiah 2:4
This was not the panicked prayer of one who never speaks to God (unless he is in trouble). Nehemiah 1 shows us that he was already in close communion with God, and could trust Him in all circumstances. At this moment, when he had to say the right thing, in the right way, in a short amount of time, he asked for and obtained the help of his God. We can learn from this too; when we need help quickly, whether it be with a quick answer or decision, we can ask God, and he will be there. We must remember to always be in contact with Him.