Prayer from Nehemiah

When I do bible studies or hear a sermon I am always intrigued by the  prayers of the person in the study or sermon.  I believe prayer will and does change the world, especially in the first chapter of Nehemiah as he finds out about the  sorry state of affairs in Jerusalem.

Nehemiah 1 (KJV)

The words of Nehemiah the son of Hachaliah. And it came to pass in the month Chisleu, in the twentieth year, as I was in Shushan the palace,

That Hanani, one of my brethren, came, he and certain men of Judah; and I asked them concerning the Jews that had escaped, which were left of the captivity, and concerning Jerusalem.

And they said unto me, The remnant that are left of the captivity there in the province are in great affliction and reproach: the wall of Jerusalem also is broken down, and the gates thereof are burned with fire.

And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

And said, I beseech thee, O Lord God of heaven, the great and terrible God, that keepeth covenant and mercy for them that love him and observe his commandments:

Let thine ear now be attentive, and thine eyes open, that thou mayest hear the prayer of thy servant, which I pray before thee now, day and night, for the children of Israel thy servants, and confess the sins of the children of Israel, which we have sinned against thee: both I and my father’s house have sinned.

We have dealt very corruptly against thee, and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the judgments, which thou commandedst thy servant Moses.

Remember, I beseech thee, the word that thou commandedst thy servant Moses, saying, If ye transgress, I will scatter you abroad among the nations:

But if ye turn unto me, and keep my commandments, and do them; though there were of you cast out unto the uttermost part of the heaven, yet will I gather them from thence, and will bring them unto the place that I have chosen to set my name there.

10 Now these are thy servants and thy people, whom thou hast redeemed by thy great power, and by thy strong hand.

11 O Lord, I beseech thee, let now thine ear be attentive to the prayer of thy servant, and to the prayer of thy servants, who desire to fear thy name: and prosper, I pray thee, thy servant this day, and grant him mercy in the sight of this man. For I was the king’s cupbearer.

Verse 4 gives us the five step progression that Nehemiah took because of the horrific circumstances of Jerusalem:

Nehemiah 1:4  And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

1) sat
2) wept
3) mourned
4) fasted
5) prayed

For “certain days” he continued to do this, until he had response from God as to what he should do. Nehemiah, a faithful follower, knew that whatever the circumstance nothing could be accomplished without first petitioning God.

Nehemiah knew this prayer needed to “change the world” because of the state of Jerusalem. It needed to be a powerful prayer that he was sure would be heard and answered.

Because of grief, he mournfully prays (Nehemiah 1:4)
Because of hope, he worshipfully asks (Nehemiah 1:5)
Because of sin, he humbly confesses (Nehemiah 1:6-7)
Because of belief, he persistently intercedes (Nehemiah 1:8-11)

Nehemiah cleared any obstacles to God’s ears in verse’s 4-7, building up to verse 11 “beseeching” God to open His ears and here the prayer of His servant.

My Virtual Bible Study this month is in the book of James, discussing trials and temptations. This prayer pattern from Nehemiah is a perfect fit to properly prepare oneself and God’s ears for answered prayer.

 

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