A RIGHTEOUS RESPONSE
Lord, You know the situations that are heavy on my heart today. Move in my circumstances as only You can.
Read Nehemiah 1
1 The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:
In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.
3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 5 Then I said:
“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’
10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”
I was cupbearer to the king.
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica
ReflectWhat situations are burdening you today?
The beginning of Nehemiah’s story gives us a helpful model for how to respond to the brokenness in our world.
First, he wept. So often we want to rush on to fixing the problem, but it is important to lament first—to feel and express the appropriate emotions.
Next, he fasted and prayed for several days. Presumably he still had to work in that time and couldn’t spend the week locked in private prayer, but his focus, whatever else he was doing, was on prayer. He was latching on to God, holding the situation before him, and allowing God to shape his response to it.
Then, when he knew what God was calling him to do, he prayed a prayer of action. It is a wonderful model for our prayers: it begins with adoration of God, moves to confession of sin, recalls God’s relevant promises, then presents a simple, clear, measurable request. And as is so often the case, he found God was calling him to participate in the answer.
Use Nehemiah’s prayer model and write down a prayer of your heart today.
Loving God, “Break my heart for what breaks Yours / Everything I am for Your kingdom’s cause” (Brooke Fraser, b. 1983).
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