“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… 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” — Nehemiah 1:5-6
Nehemiah is an inspiration in courageous repentance, intercession, and action. Like Queen Esther, he found himself in a place of esteem and privilege. These two people had something else in common; they pressed into their placement and did not protect their positions. Recognizing that God could use his influence for the welfare of others, Nehemiah prayed to that end.
Nehemiah was Cupbearer to King Artaxerxes; he lived in the palace a distance from his people, who lived in the ruins of Jerusalem. When he received the news of his people, he wept for days, fasted, and prayed.
Worship and Repentance
Read Nehemiah 1:5-7
Nehemiah, knowing who he was and who God was, positioned his heart to worship God and acknowledge his sin. Then he remembered God’s promise to Moses, that He would gather His people again if they returned to Him with obedience.
Intersession and Surrender
“They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. O 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 favour in the presence of this man” (Nehemiah 1:10-11).
After days of prayer, Nehemiah told the king about his people’s trouble with the ruined walls and asked for time off to go help. God moved the king to release Nehemiah. Nehemiah, continually praying, decided to ask for a letter for safe travel for the journey. The king not only granted his request, but also provided bodyguards. Nehemiah, rolling in faith as he saw that the Spirit was influencing the king, mentioned his need for wood. The king gave Nehemiah a letter for that too! Nehemiah acknowledged that it was only because God’s gracious hand was on him that the King was responding favorably.
1. Reflect on Nehemiah’s prayer found in Nehemiah 1:5-11. For whom are you positioned to pray?
2. What is the Spirit asking you to do in the position God has placed you?
Paula Jones and her husband, Mark, live in Thailand and serve as the Asian Spice Canadian Regional Developers.