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Questions and Arrows  

Questions and Arrows  

  • "Questions and Arrows" originally appeared in the May 2024 "Weekender" issue of COMO Magazine.
Woman Looking Down a Zig Zag Path

What is prayer and how do we pray? Such a good question. 

Like any relationship we have, we need communication to build intimacy and trust. Being in a relationship involves speaking and listening to one another. The same is true in our relationship with God. 

To be straightforward, prayer is the language we have for speaking to God. Or you could say, it is the street language we use with Jesus. It is not any more complicated than that.  

How do we pray?

Well, we could make that complicated as well. Or not. 

Simply put, we can pray by asking God questions and looking for arrows, not answers. 

Before we dive into that, however, there is something foundational that is helpful to understand; God is already working on our behalf before we communicate with him. 

Rather than actively communicating what we want, need, or expect, or waiting passively to see what God will do, we can participate with God in what he is already doing. Pastor and author Eugene Peterson, says it this way: 

“The assumption of spirituality is that God is always doing something before I know it. So, the task is not to get God to do something I think needs to be done, but to become aware of what God is doing so that I can respond to it and participate and take delight in it.”  

The question now is how. How can we participate with God through prayer?  

We can ask God questions, and look for arrows, not answers.  

What does it look like to ask God questions?  

For me, it is about identifying the places in my life that no amount of thinking or talking about has been able to touch with an answer. I write these questions down in my journal each month and sit with God with them over time. Sometimes I sit quietly at home. Sometimes I sit as I drive. Sometimes I sit while I’m at work, cooking, or doing laundry.  

I talk to God about how it feels not to have the answer, but I have learned to resist the urge to solve anything. I don’t strive or grasp, force clarity, or try to figure things out. I have found it helpful to allow related issues and concerns to surface, but not to dwell on them.  

The three areas that seem to surface the most are matters of faith, vocation, and relationships. What is the source of this weight I’m feeling? How can I cultivate this relationship? How do I live this hard thing well? What does my future look like? Or What am I afraid of? 

Once I have identified the questions, I go on with life, living the questions. As I am living, I look for arrows rather than expecting answers. 

What is an arrow?  

God often gives a faint vision of things before they ever come to be. It is not a fully formed answer; more of a shadow, not focused or clear. It does not come with steps, money, or sure things, but with hope. And hope is what keeps us going during the fog. Instead of those black and white answers we tend to love so much, we can begin to look for arrows instead. 

In that same journal, I have space to record arrows. These arrows help me see the ways God is working and the direction he is leading. Some questions may have one arrow, others may have several. These arrows can come as a text from a friend, a song on the radio, a whisper from the Holy Spirit, a quote, or an invitation. 

What would happen if we began to see prayer as asking God questions, and then looking for arrows, not answers? 

In my experience, we would begin to see God actively working in our lives and sense his invitation to join him. Rather than having an answer to our prayers, we would experience his powerful presence.  


Father, I admit I want answers and there is nothing wrong with that. 

But I can trip myself up when I hold clenched fists around my own agendas. 

I am looking for a plan, but you offer me your hand. 

May it be enough today. 

Grow me in hope where confusion used to live. 

Grow me in courage where once there was fear. 

While I have an awareness of our future, keep me here in this moment for the people I love. 

Give me eyes to see the arrows. 

Help me trust my own heart as I put my trust in you. 

Beth Bramstedt
Beth Bramstedt

Beth Bramstedt is the Church Life Pastor at Christian Fellowship. 

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