Nehemiah is a character of great faith, work ethic, and a passion for God’s truth that we can (and should) imitate. When he was before the King Artaxerxes as a cupbearer, death loomed in the king’s scepter (Esther 4:11). Nehemiah was not stopped by fear. He said it was “because the good hand of my God was on me” (Nehemiah 2:8). Part of the conversation goes like this,
“Then the king said to me, ‘What would you request?’ So I prayed to the God of Heaven. I said to the King, ‘…send me to…the city…that I may rebuild it.’”
Did you catch it?
In that time, Artaxerxes was commonly referred to as The king of kings. Nehemiah knew his life could be snuffed within moments. So he didn’t change what he wanted to say, he didn’t hold back… Before he spoke to the king in front of him, he spoke to the true King of the universe!
“So I prayed to the God of Heaven.” Nehemiah prayed. God answered!
The book of Nehemiah begins and ends with prayers to God (1:4-11, 11:17, 13:14, 22, 29). “…have compassion on me according to the greatness of Your lovingkindness.” Over and over Nehemiah prayed and God answered! When obstacles from outside (4:1-8) and from inside the city threatened (5:1-5, 6:12) Nehemiah refused to be frightened (6:14, 19). In 4:9, he sets his defenses only after praying to God. “Remember me, Oh my God…”
Nehemiah prayed. God answered!
Do we allow God to frustrate our enemies and fight for us (4:15-20)? Are we encouraged by our shared faith to carry on in the work? A mind to work (4:6) will employ working prayers for each other (Romans 15:30). Do you pray with your family members?
Do we recognize our separations and then plan to rally together to avoid divisions (4:20)? We should also be strategic in this. We should pray! God will answer!
Paul’s own mindset is to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Doesn’t Nehemiah’s example display that same thing? What an amazing ability! To ask God for help in our daily lives, our work, and our understanding! Working prayers are prayers that work!