READING: Nehemiah 6-7
TEXTS AND APPLICATION: The book of Nehemiah is about God’s amazing hand on His people, leading them to rebuild the wall of Jerusalem in 52 days — a task that only God could accomplish (Neh. 6:15-16). At the same time, it’s also a book that describes the enemies of God’s people attempting to thwart that task. In today’s readings, three attempts are made to discourage Nehemiah, but he would not be distracted from the work at hand.
What we see Nehemiah doing instead is pushing forward while also seeking God’s help through prayer. Such prayers occur throughout this book, with several taking place in the chapters we’ve already read together:
Neh. 1:4-11 Please, Lord, let Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and to that of Your servants who delight to revere Your name. (v. 11)
Neh. 2:4-5a Then the king asked me, “What is your request?” So I prayed to the God of heaven and answered the king.
Neh. 4:4-5 Listen, our God, for we are despised. Make their insults return on their own heads and let them be taken as plunder to a land of captivity. Do not cover their guilt or let their sin be erased from Your sight, because they have provoked the builders.
Neh. 5:19 Remember me favorably, my God, for all that I have done for this people.
Neh. 6:9 But now, my God, strengthen me.
Neh. 6:14 My God, remember Tobiah and Sanballat for what they have done, and also Noadiah the prophetess and the other prophets who wanted to intimidate me.
What’s striking to me is that these prayers almost seem like interruptions in the story line. Most are short, to the point, and honest. They seem to just "show up" in the chapters, sometimes with little introduction.
They’re really not interruptions, though; they’re simply reflections of the heart of a man for whom prayer is in his DNA. Nehemiah prays regularly and naturally, without pretense.
That’s the kind of prayer warrior I want to be.
PRAYER: “God, please make me that kind of man of prayer. May prayer simply fall from my lips, unhindered by sin and focused only on You and Your will.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Nehemiah 8-10