When you barely have time to think, one of these words can make a powerful difference.
In her book, Help, Thanks, Wow, Anne Lamott says, “This is a hard planet, and we’re a vulnerable species. And all I can do is pray: Help.” She’s right. But “Help” may be the most instinctive prayer any of us ever prays. So don’t hesitate. After all, the God of the universe is “our help and our shield” (Psalm 33:20, NIV).
In the prophet Ezekiel’s day, God saw His people “practice extortion and commit robbery; they oppress the poor and needy and mistreat the foreigner, denying them justice.” He longed for someone “who would build up the wall and stand before Me in the gap,” presenting a prayerful impediment to evil (Ezekiel 22:29-30, NIV). When evil looms and emergencies arise, one word—“No!”—can be a righteous prayer of defense, even defiance.
The great church planter, Paul of Tarsus, wrote to early Christians (as paraphrased in The Message), “God reminds us, I heard your call in the nick of time; The day you needed Me, I was there to help. Well, now is the right time to listen, the day to be helped” (2 Corinthians 6:2, The Message). Sometimes, when things are happening fast and the need for God’s intervention is urgent, a sharp, single-word prayer—“Now”—can say it all.
Prayers like these are not only simple, they’re also effective. Keep them in mind, have them ready and use one or all three whenever an emergency arises.