Sometimes life seems broken.
Nehemiah was the cupbearer to the king of a land far from his home. (Which means he held a trusted position that allowed him personal access to the king.) When some old friends came to town he found out that his people, the Jews, were in a terrible situation.
Deeply burdened by the news, he wept, mourned, fasted, and prayed.
He took the devastation of his people to heart and responded on a soul level.
The Bible shows us that Nehemiah prayed. He was pressed but not crushed. He told the Lord that he was sorry for the way he and his people had rejected God and for the ways they had disobeyed His commands. He remembered the instructions of God to His people and reminded Him of His promises. And he asked God to hear his prayer, give him favor and lead his responses.
I read this and see a vibrant example of the way I should respond when difficult situations come my way.
When my loved ones are hurting. When my homeland is unsafe and vulnerable to attack. Here are a few basic faith principles we can apply that Nehemiah modeled in his prayer and in the conversations that followed.
#1. BE HONEST ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS. Nehemiah wept and mourned in response to the situation. You don’t need to pretend that you’re “fine” when life hurts. Instead, You can do what Nehemiah did: cry. Be sad. Mourn. Grieve.
Because life is hard … and just because we’re Christians does not mean we get easy passes. Thankfully, God knows sorrow well and is the generous source of comfort we need.
#2. PRAY. Nehemiah’s powerful prayer included the following. I’ve bullet pointed them to be a useful guide:
– Begin with confession (on behalf of you and your people).
– Remember and remind God of His Word
– Petition on behalf of others (Pray for your people. Stand in the gap. Intercede.)
– Ask for success (Yes. You read this right. It’s okay to ask God to give you favor. Nehemiah did!)
– Ask for mercy (That the punishment we and our people deserve would be withheld.)
While following this template of Nehemiah’s prayer doesn’t guarantee any of us that God will answer our prayers as we expect Him to, it does give us a step by step path to follow that will focus our hearts God’s intervention.
Then, after Nehemiah prayed, the Lord allowed the king to see that something was wrong. And the Lord allowed Nehemiah to experience the favor he asked for. BUT he has to face his fears in order to step into the provision God had for him. And this shows us another great takeaway…
#3. DON’T LET FEAR HOLD YOU BACK. Nehemiah was heavy with sorrow and the king noticed. In chapter 2 the king asked Nehemiah what had made his him sad. “So the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.” (Nehemiah 2:2)
Insightful king, right?
The next words Nehemiah writes are, “I was very much afraid, but I said to the king, “May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my fathers are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?” (Nehemiah 2:2-3)
Amazingly, the king cared! He asked what he could do to help, and then provided Nehemiah with everything he needed to go back to Jerusalem and help his people rebuild the ruins.
Nehemiah could’ve shrugged off the king’s question. He could’ve said, Nothing is wrong, my lord! I’m fine. All is well. But he didn’t. Even though he was afraid, he spoke truth. He didn’t let fear hold him back. And as a result, he was equipped with what he needed and was mobilized toward healing.
Are there complications that have your heart grieving and sifting through ashes?
Are you trying to keep a stiff upper lip and carry those broken burdens quietly?
God is all about rebuilding broken hearts and hopes, friend.
He specializes in transforming smoky ash heaps into beautiful displays of His grace. He moves you toward that beauty and healing as you move toward Him in distress as Nehemiah did.
You are compassionate, gracious, faithful, and powerful. Please forgive me my loved ones and me for the ways we’ve disobeyed. Please bring redemption and healing to _________________. Pour out Your favor and mercy on us today, and help me to follow Your leading.
In Jesus’s Name, Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
Read Nehemiah 1.
Write out Nehemiah’s prayer, but personalize it.
Visit my blog to write out a prayer of response in the comments.
Love you, friend!
You know the situation that has been over exaggerating! Money has become a part of us 5 woman. When we know what this was going to do! A simple question that was asked Where and How? The money was spent should have just been Answered. But you Angela made it turn out to be a very Ugly Situation.! Your a Christian Woman that practices this daily to be who God has chosen you to be. Thus situation made me chose to Remove Myself from something that I Love very much and it was the Children whom I loved cooking and just visiting with. You also throwing out the Referee word! This meaning for you to choose between My Sisters and I. Why would you say that to me? That was Hurtful and my response was I will never ask you or anyone else to do this! They are all that I have =(….. I have given this Situation to my God to take of because it just became so Ugly.
Now I ask “Why are Christians so much hateful and no honest?”
Dear Jesus, you know my pride- you know the circumstances that my family is in. God, I desperately need your wisdom. My desire is to see my family restored and whole. God, I cannot change what has happened but I trust you to give beauty for ashes and pray that you would heal each of our hearts. I pray especially for my daughter- that you would heal her heart and bring her to a deep relationship with you/ Use her God to bring healing to your daughters- God I don’t know why- only you do- I pray that you would bring your light into the darkness. Give us each favor in our various positions and expand our territories. Bless the work of our hands. Cause us to be wise as a serpent, harmless as doves- in the various situations we find ourselves in. God protect my children and be a shield around them. God you are faithful- give us repentant hearts and ears to hear. God I’m trusting you to heal and restore. Thank you Jesus, that you are faithful. I love you.
HEAVENLY FATHER I COME TO YOU RIGHT NOW ASKING FOR A BLESSING HEAVENLY FATHER I KNOW YOU CAN BECAUSE YOU ARE THE GOD OF BLESSINGS I AM HURTING I FAST I PRAY I TITHE AND I STUDY YOUR WORDS I COME ASKING YOU TODAY TO RESTORE A RELATIONSHIP THAT ONLY YOU CAN GOD MY FAITH WONT LET ME GIVE UP I AM STANDING ON YOUR PROMISE OF BEING A GOD OF RESTORATION I NEED YOU AND ALL THE PRAYER WARRIORS TO INTERCEDE ON MY BEHALF MY HEART ACHES DAY AND NIGHT I NEED YOU HEAVENLY FATHER I NEED THEE
This is my own prayer of response based on Nehemiah Chapter 1 from today’s devotional:
Thank you for another day of life. We come to you today thanking you also for all you have done in our lives and all person’s lives through many generations of family. We humbly seek your face in our daily endeavors so that we may have clarity as what you would have us do to help bring others to you. Without you in all we say/think or do, we cannot win in anything we set out to do.
We ask Heavenly Father that you would abide in us and that you would send us the Holy Spirit so we would daily be drawn to abide in you through time spent in your Word, thoughts, and prayers. May no stone go unturned as we delve into this day, stepping out in faith, knowing you are with us every step of the way.
ABBA Father, we are yours to humbly do as you would have us do. Please forgive each of us for any failures on our part to lean into your infinite love and mercy – available to us on a daily basis. We pray that and generational sins or ill gotten behaviors be washed away with the forgiveness only you and Jesus can give through Jesus’s death in the cross for each of us.
Help us, your servants, to lay down our burdens, personal sinful actions/thoughts/deeds and move forward in Christ’s love and light being led by the Holy Spirit – knowing that we are blessed upon measure, deeply loved, and forgiven because Christ first lives us.
We go forward now in peace, hope, love, joy, and forgiveness to serve the Holy Trinity and to be more inclusive with the family of God.
Thank you Lord Hod for this time spent with you. May we each be a beacon of light so others can see you through grace of action.
Please excuse my typos in my previous prayer post. Thank you!
Beautiful, Faith. AMEN!