“The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my fathers are buried so that I can rebuild it’” (Nehemiah 2:4-5).
(Neh. 2:1-9) Nehemiah knew that he was the man whom God expected to rebuild the city of Jerusalem. His strategy was prayer. He first asked God to prepare the way for him to receive favor from the king. But then, he knew that he must ASK the king for his help. Having confidence in the Lord’s plan and provision, he did just that, even though he was afraid. How many of us pray, but then don’t continue on in faith to be the answer to our own prayers? Do you wonder how many prayers God might have answered differently if we had just been obedient in our actions? Sometimes God desires (and requires) the next step beyond obedience to intercede … the obedience to act on behalf of the person or situation for whom or for which we are interceding. An interesting note; Nehemiah breathed a prayer to God just before responding to the king’s question, “What is it you want?” (Neh. 2:4-5). He utilized the strategy of prayer for preparation and also to gain the wisdom to speak the words God wanted him to say: “Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king…” Jesus tells us not to fear when we stand before kings and authorities on His behalf for He will give us the words to say (Luke 21:12-15). Nehemiah experienced this same promise from God.
God of heaven, create in me the faithful heart of Nehemiah, so that I might not be afraid to be the answer to the prayers I pray. Help me to prepare the ground in prayer and ask for Your wisdom in every situation so that I might be confident in Your plans and provision. May I continually act in obedience, even if it might mean stretching my experience to trust that You will give me words to say in uncertain situations.
Adapted from the article Prayer Strategy for Ministry by Dave Butts, author of Prayer and the End of Days: Praying God’s Purposes in Troubled Times. This book is available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount.
Praise God for being both high above you and intimately within you. Thank God for making you a friend of Jesus as you follow his ways (Jn. 15:14). Confess times of damaging that friendship by acting as if you didn’t know Jesus and his ways. Commit to living in loving, obedient partnership with him (15:15). Ask Jesus to increase your appreciation of the gift of his friendship and fellowship.
Pray for those you love to continually “walk in the ways of good men and keep to the paths of the righteous” (Prov. 2:20). Ask God to give them discretion in choosing friends and associates.
Prayer Points taken from Patterns for Prayer by Alvin VanderGriend