Read: Nehemiah 1:1-11
When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. (v. 4 NIV)
- M. Bounds once said, “The church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men.” There are plenty of how-to guides out there on prayer, but in the Bible God gives us his servant Nehemiah whose life and prayers challenge us to be people who pray.
When should we pray? When Nehemiah hears that Jerusalem is in ruins, the first thing he does is sit down and weep. Then for several days he mourns and fasts and prays. He doesn’t try to “fix” things. Instead, he gets alone with God. True disciples of Jesus do more than pray, but they don’t do anything until they pray.
Why should we pray? Nehemiah has a huge weight on his heart because of this news. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, he goes straight to the Lord. This shows Nehemiah’s dependence on God while allowing God to lighten Nehemiah’s load. His prayer of faith permits God’s power to be released.
How should we pray? If we look at today’s passage, we see that Nehemiah adores God’s character (v. 5). He focuses on God’s position, power, and promises to his people. Furthermore, instead of passing the blame, he admits to God that the Israelites, including himself and his father’s family, have sinned and need God’s forgiveness. And lastly, he claims God’s promises to the people of Israel. This reminds him of God’s faithfulness. —Bob Bouwer
Prayer: Father, thank you for godly examples of people who pray.