READING: Nehemiah 5-7
“But now, my God, strengthen me.”
Every time I read the book of Nehemiah, I am struck by the number of times that Nehemiah turned quickly and naturally to prayer (including some texts that we have previously read):
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.
Typically, the prayers are not long. They are not elaborate. Instead, they are simply the cries of a man for whom prayer seems natural. In fact, even the requests are simple and to the point: “Let your ear be attentive,” “Listen, our God,” “Remember me,” and “Strengthen me.” This is where I need once again to learn from Nehemiah. When opposition hit, he turned to God. He was unafraid to ask for grace, protection, and justice.
It seems to me that when prayer is already that much a part of your life, you don’t get nearly as stressed about the enemies that infiltrate your world. Attempts to intimidate don’t matter, since God is bigger than anyone anyway. When you have that kind of relationship with God, you just press on with His work in spite of opposition.
- Pray this prayer as needed today: “God, hear me. Remember me. Strengthen me.”
- Don’t let opposition get in the way of your work today. Pray about it, and keep going.
PRAYER: “God, help me to turn to You all day long. Keep me from being intimidated if opposition develops.”
TOMORROW’S READING: Nehemiah 8-10