What is an “arrow prayer”?
An arrow prayer is a quick, very short prayer (usually only a sentence long) which brings us into the presence of God and the saints, seeking holy aid in times of need. Father Joseph Matlak spoke about arrow prayers in our digital content series for Catholics called School of Prayer.
We can use arrow prayers when we feel particularly weak, vulnerable, scared, or anxious. They help to penetrate any darkness or fear and to direct our thoughts quickly to God.
In the movie Paul, Apostle of Christ, there is a scene where Paul is imprisoned and has been tormented by a recurring dream. Crouched in a dark corner of his cell, he lifts his face to heaven and exclaims, “Thy grace is sufficient!”
What a remarkable arrow prayer!
Arrows not only give us direction and show us a way to go—they are also deadly weapons. That is why I love the term “arrow prayers.” We can use arrow prayers to lift up our souls to God as a simple and secret thought, or we can use them in the event of any emergency that occurs. The devil would like us not to use this method of prayer because he knows that these types of prayers reveal the faith of the one praying them.
Arrow prayers can be shot up to heaven in a single breath and only take a second or two to pray. When I am praying for someone else or when my own words seem powerless in the face of what I am praying for, these types of ejaculatory prayers are effective.
Here are a some good examples of arrow prayers that anyone can use:
- “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” (The Jesus Prayer)
- “My Lord and My God!” (The prayer of Saint Thomas the Apostle)
- “Jesus, Mary, I love You! Save souls!”
- “God, come to my assistance; Lord, make haste to help me.” (Psalm 69—Introductory Prayer to the Divine Office)
- “Lord, I believe; help me in my unbelief.”
- “May the Holy Cross be my light.” (Jubilee Medal of St. Benedict)
The next time you are anxious, fearful, or tempted—especially when you don’t have enough time to hit your knees or enter the Presence of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament—take one of these arrow prayers from your spiritual quiver and send it flying to heaven…and into the heart of Christ.
Are you familiar with arrow prayers? If so, which ones are your favorite?