“O Lord, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses. Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’ They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man” (Nehemiah 1:5-11).
Nehemiah had a difficult task ahead of him. After hearing a report of the poor condition of Jerusalem and its inhabitants he believed that God called him to travel to Jerusalem and take the lead in seeing the walls of the city rebuilt. He needed favor from the king in order to do so. His immediate response was to weep and pray: “For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.” (Neh. 1:4) Out of this time of mourning came the powerful prayer recorded in Nehemiah 1:5-11 (see above).
Note how Nehemiah focused on prayer as an integral part of this mighty work of God… not as a quick fix, but as a continued dependence upon God for help and direction. Nehemiah’s prayer was not an act of devotion wedged into an already busy schedule. He stopped what he was doing and gave himself fully to God in prayer. The task ahead was too daunting for anyone but God Himself.
Father, help me to be a prayer warrior like Nehemiah! Give me the deep desire to give myself fully to You when I pray. Forgive me for not taking time to seek Your face continually, fasting as necessary! Allow my heart to soften so that I can weep over the things that grieve You! I want Your direction and discernment…not my own ideas and desires. Give me a heart of flesh and passion for Your kingdom!
Adapted from the article Prayer Strategy for Ministry by Dave Butts, The Devil Goes to Church: Combating the Every Day Attacks of Satan. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God, whose “every word . . . is flawless.” Thank God for being “a shield to those who take refuge in him” (Prov. 30:5). Confess times of not believing or listening to his Word. Commit yourself to hearing God speak to you today. Ask him to truly be your refuge.
Pray for God’s flawless Word to be clearly and practically preached throughout the world. Ask God’s Spirit to open hearts so that his kingdom and righteousness may grow.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend