Week of Monday, May 31 ­– Sunday, June 6
Power of a 10-Second Prayer – Man as a Provider

Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers' graves, that I may rebuild it...” Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.”
—Nehemiah 2:4-5,17-18

I don’t know about you, but I have never met a guy who is satisfied with his prayer life. Let’s be honest, we all struggle when it comes to prayer. I must confess that I do. Based on sanctified stereotypes, we think we have to literally get on our knees and pray for hours in King James English to be effective and put ourselves in a position for God to answer. That’s well and good, but in my experience, I have found that God also answers a desperate 10-second prayer as well.

In my book Never Surrender, I recount the failed mission to recover the U.S. hostages in the American embassy in Tehran over 40 years ago. It failed because one of our Navy helos crashed on top of a C-130 troop transport plane after refueling on the desert floor from that same aircraft. Both aircraft exploded into a raging inferno with 45 of my Delta-Force men trapped inside the C-130. In that tense moment, with the lives of my men hanging in the balance, the Holy Spirit prompted me to pray a brief, 10-second prayer. No time to get on my knees. No time to bow my head and fold my hands. No time for fancy King James words. Just a desperate one-line plea: “Oh God, please spare them in Jesus’ name!” And He mercifully and miraculously answered. The door of that fiery plane opened, and my men jumped out through the flames and everyone was saved. Praise God!

Nehemiah was faced with only having seconds to pray before he had to make a big request to the Persian king, who was then ruler of the known world. Nehemiah could have chickened out and let the opportunity pass, but he didn’t do that. Instead, before answering the king, he prayed a desperate “10-second prayer” to the God of Heaven before he spoke. God gave him both the words he needed and the answer he needed—the king granted his request and then some!

Without even knowing it, this pagan Persian king was used by God to accomplish His purposes in Jerusalem. And the king wasn’t the only one God used to accomplish His plan. God also provided Nehemiah help along the way once he arrived in Jerusalem. The work required a team effort. Nehemiah’s passionate plea together with his assurance of God’s work on the people’s behalf gave Jerusalem’s leaders new energy and determination. They were encouraged and ready to do God’s work Nehemiah put before them. They said: “Let us rise up and build.”

Now, none of us are probably faced with a monumental task like God gave Nehemiah, but we all have our “broken walls” to rebuild. There are so many broken lives around us, some in our own families, that it can be overwhelming. But guys, don’t give up before you even get started! And when that critical moment comes, pray. Know that He answers the 10-second prayers just as well as He answers the ones prayed for hours. Why? Because the fact is the power is not in our prayers, but in the God who answers because He loves us. As our Heavenly Father, He knows what we need before we ask, and when it lines up with His will, He graciously grants our requests.

While God has given you the role of a provider, He is also the Provider of everything you need to get the work done that He assigns. If He has prompted you to meet a specific need, keep looking to Him for direction and help. You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) do it alone. Instead, pray, seek His direction, and humbly ask Him to provide you help to meet the desperate needs of those around you. Be persistent and do not grow weary. Keep praying. And don’t dismiss the power of a 10-second prayer!

  • Why do we often skip prayer and jump straight to trying to handle a problem on our own? What’s wrong with that?
  • After arriving in Jerusalem and before asking anyone for help, Nehemiah observed the city by himself at night (2:12-16). What step between prayer and enlisting help can we learn from Nehemiah’s example? Why is this step important?
  • When have you seen men work together to address the brokenness in your city? Pray and ask God how He would have you get that started.