“But when Sanballat, Tobiah, the Arabs, the Ammonites and the men of Ashod heard that the repairs to Jerusalem’s walls had gone ahead and that the gaps were being closed, they were very angry. They all plotted together to come and fight against Jerusalem and stir up trouble against it. But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat” (Nehemiah 4:7-9).
The Israelites in Jerusalem had responded favorably to Nehemiah’s presence and had set themselves to the task of rebuilding the city walls under his leadership. But as so often happens in any work of God, it was not long before the enemy made his move. Opposition arose against the building of the wall. Nehemiah’s response? This prayer warrior moved to the attack mode of prayer: “Hear us, O our God, for we are despised. Turn their insults hack on their own heads. Give them over as plunder in a land of captivity. Do not cover up their guilt or blot out their sins from your sight, for they have thrown insults in the face of the builders” (Nehemiah 4:4-5). The task was not going to be completed until there was some spiritual warfare prayer.
Once again, Nehemiah did not pray and then sit back and do nothing. Prayer was primary strategy for rebuilding the walls… but not the whole strategy. He also called the people together and posted guards to protect the builders. He phrased it this way in Neh. 4:9, “But we prayed to our God and posted a guard day and night to meet this threat.”
What a powerful combination of prayer and physical activity! Nehemiah understood clearly that prayer was as essential to the building of the wall as manual labor. in our plans and ministries, we must begin to see the strategic place that God has for prayer. With Nehemiah we saw that the project emerged out of prayer. . . continued in prayer… and was completed through prayer. Because of this biblical prayer warrior, we can see how this type of continuous emphasis on prayer can bring any work of God to completion in such a way that God is honored and His Kingdom advanced.
God, so often I cave in at the first sign of opposition instead of going to the strategic place of prayer! Help me to learn how to seek Your face before, during and after anything I attempt to do for Your kingdom, knowing that without Your help, my efforts are worthless and fruitless.
–Adapted from the article Prayer Strategy for Ministry by Dave Butts. Another resource by Dave Butts is Prayer and the End of Days, available at prayershop.org. Use the code CONPSP3 at checkout to receive an additional 10% discount on the book.
Praise the meek and gentle Christ, who has power to demolish strongholds (2 Cor. 10:1, 4). Thank God for his truth and power, which are so different from the world’s. Confess times of placing ultimate reliance in mere human resources. Commit to putting your confidence and pride in the Lord (10:17). Ask God to guide you to live in such a way that you receive his commendation, no matter what the world says (10:18).
Pray for your households to be founded upon the principles of God rather than the mere “wisdom” of this world. Ask God to guide and protect your home with his truth.
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