Nehemiah’s tears moved him to prayer. The Bible tells us that he fasted and prayed for many days. (4 months to be exact!) Nehemiah 1:5-11 gives us some insights into his prayer life, and we can learn much from it.
Verse 5 ”O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God Who keeps His covenant of unfailing love with those who love Him and obey His commands”.
1. Nehemiah acknowledged the greatness and love of God. This is a good place to start when rebuilding walls. Our faith rises when we remember that nothing is impossible for God and that He is a God of love. Think about that broken wall that you are facing. Now see the issue, or the person, or the situation in the context of God’s greatness and love.
Verse 6a”Listen to my prayer! Look down and see me praying night and day for Your people Israel.”
2. Nehemiah asked God to listen to his prayer and to see him praying. This may seem strange, but actually it just showed how earnest Nehemiah was in his prayer. He wasn’t praying for the sake of praying. He was praying for God to move on his behalf. Once again, think about that wall that needs to be rebuilt. Could it be time to say look at me Lord? I am praying night and day. Listen to my prayer.
Verse 6b-7I confess that we have sinned against You. Yes, even my own family and I have sinned! We have sinned terribly by not obeying the commands, decrees, and regulations that You gave us through Your servant Moses.
3. Nehemiah asked the Lord for forgiveness, and he didn’t just confess the sins of the people, but he repented of his own sins and the sins of his family. He took responsibility for the situation Israel had found themselves in. He didn’t blame or accuse, he repented.
Verse 8-9”Please remember what You told your servant Moses: ‘If you are unfaithful to Me, I will scatter you among the nations. But if you return to Me and obey My commands and live by them, then even if you are exiled to the ends of the earth, I will bring you back to the place I have chosen for My Name to be honoured.’
4. He reminded the Lord of His promises. Lord, You said that if Your people return to You, even if they are exiled to the ends of the earth, then You will bring them back to the place You have chosen for them. What are the promises that the Lord has spoken over you? What are the promises the Lord has spoken over your loved one, your family, or the situation you are facing that needs to be restored. We can remind God. But Lord, You said…
Verse 10-11”The people You rescued by Your great power and strong hand are Your servants. O Lord, please hear my prayer! Listen to the prayers of those of us who delight in honouring You. Please grant me success today by making the king favourable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.”
5. Nehemiah ends his prayer by asking God for favour. One of the keys to receiving God’s favour is to ask for it. ”Please grant me success today by making the king favourable to me. Put it into his heart to be kind to me.” When we pray about something we are acknowledging our dependence on the Lord. We are saying to Him, Lord, I can’t fix this in my own strength, I need You! I heard a story about a Minister who did pastoral visits. He would arrive at a member’s home and knock on the door. Then he would wait. He got very good at observing the curtains. The faintest stir would indicate that someone was home. Some people wouldn’t respond, and he would eventually leave. Others would open the door, just a crack, and speak to him briefly through the small opening. Others would say, ”The house is a mess but come in anyway.” He would go in… and the house would be a mess, but they would enjoy a time of blessed fellowship. When we pray, we are inviting the Lord to come in and His presence will bless us. We will enjoy fellowship with Him in the midst of our struggle, and we will also hear Him speak, and He will show us what to do. This is what happened to Nehemiah.
Nehemiah 2:12”I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem.”
You see, God had placed a strategy in Nehemiah’s heart. Remember he had prayed and fasted for 4 months and during that time God gave him a divine plan. When we pray for ourselves, for someone else, or about a situation, the Lord will give us the wisdom we seek and show us His plan. It is also very likely that God will involve us in the rebuilding process.
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