Praying and Persevering

By Not Known

Nehemiah was a prayer warrior as well as a practical worker. He was not “so heavenly minded, that he was of no earthly good”.  When we read through the book of Nehemiah, we see the man in differing and trying circumstances, but the common thread of prayerfulness runs right through.

Nehemiah prayed when he heard DISASTROUS NEWS (1:3-11). The wall of Jerusalem had been broken down and its gates burned. There was “great trouble and disgrace”. Nehemiah not only prayed, it appears he mourned and fasted over 4 months before coming before King Artaxerxes whom he served as a cupbearer.

Then in much fear, he appeared before the King and in between sentences prayed MID-CONVERSATION (2:4), shooting an “arrow-prayer” towards God before he asked the king for special leave to return and rebuild the city of his fathers. The fact that Nehemiah even asked for letters granting timber and safe passage showed he had thought through what he needed for the task, and was unafraid to ask.

Later he prayed in the face of OPPOSITION (4:14). The enemies ridiculed, insulted and intimidated him and his fellow builders, but could not stop him. Nehemiah took PRECAUTIONS and posted guards along the wall (4:13); as well as instructed them to work with one hand while carrying their weapons with the other. There were times he was so weary from the incessant pressures, all he could do was pray “Strengthen my hands” (6:9).

In the last chapter we see a fiery Nehemiah PRAYING WHILE REBUKING his wayward flock. They misused God’s house, abused the Sabbath, neglected the Temple servants, and married foreign women, resulting in apostasy. Neh 13.23f: “… I saw men of Judah who had married women from Ashdod, Ammon and Moab… half of their children did not know how to speak the language of Judah.” How sad that the next generation had to suffer for their parents’ unfaithfulness.

Nehemiah prayed constantly – everytime, all the time, and we should follow his example. He prayed like he never worked, and worked like he never prayed – a praying worker, and a working prayer warrior. Both are important – let us be prayerful AND practical. Make prayer your first response, not your last resort.

Graham Ng