The Prayer of Nehemiah

Bible Study: The Prayer of Nehemiah

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What a privilege to write for Gracefully Truthful on the matter of prayer. Today we are looking at Nehemiah’s prayer as he prepared to request permission from the king to go rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. Come along with me as we dig in.

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Scripture Passage: Nehemiah 1:4-11

Responding to our Troubles

The walls of Jerusalem were in terrible shape. When Nehemiah heard about the state of the wall, it broke his heart. He grew weak in the knees. Sitting down, he began to weep and mourn over the situation. David Guzik said, “God was going to use Nehemiah to do something about this situation. But first, God did something in Nehemiah.” God was already preparing Nehemiah to do the great work that needed to be accomplished. At just the right time, God had placed Nehemiah in the right position as cupbearer to the king in order to attain kingly approval and financial support.

I’ve often been surprised how God uses my past to accomplish His plans. In high school, I was selected as student director of a play. I was disappointed because I really wanted to have a part in the play. Then in college, I took a music course, Congregational Singing. Who would have thought that, years later, I would direct more children’s musicals and plays than I can count? 

In the King James Version, Proverbs 29:18 says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” Nehemiah’s God-driven vision was huge! “Through me, God is going to correct a problem that’s been around for a hundred and fifty years. Through me, God is going to do something that completely failed before.” (David Guzik, Enduring Word) If we plan to step out and accomplish something huge, we need a God-sized vision and a goal that comes straight from Him.

Coming Before A Great God

Nehemiah began his prayer in adoration to God,

Lord, the God of the heavens, the great and awe-inspiring God who keeps His gracious covenant with those who love Him and keep His commands.”

Nehemiah 1:5

He gave credit where credit is due; noting that God was the one in control and called on God’s character as faithful and true. Nehemiah acknowledged nothing would be accomplished without God. It’s interesting to note that Nehemiah prayed about this situation for 4 months. Consequently, they rebuilt the walls in only 52 days!

Acknowledgment and worship of our Great God must be at the forefront of our prayers. I am striving to always come before God in humility; acknowledging He is above all. It’s true that we can now “come boldly before the throne” (Hebrews 4:16), but we must never forget with whom we speak.

The Importance of Confession in our Prayers

Nehemiah expressed humility by plainly stating the facts; the Israelites and he, himself, were sinners. They had failed God miserably. He confessed this openly with no excuses, expressing their total need for God. Nehemiah included himself in that failure: he didn’t say, “If I have sinned”, he prayed, “I have sinned.”  Nehemiah was a godly man, but he knew he wasn’t perfect. He admitted to being just as guilty as the rest. This humility opened his life as an instrument God could use.

prayer of confession
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Confession is always essential to prayer. In the Lord’s prayer, Jesus included asking forgiveness when we pray. (Luke 11:4 ) We are all rebellious against God. For example, we are commanded to love God and others, however, more often than not, we love ourselves the most. No one can perfectly obey these commandments because, by nature, we are sinners. Even one single sin results in falling short of God’s standard of perfection. (Romans 3:23) When we surrender ourselves to Jesus, He gives us a new nature, His. This nature is led by God’s Spirit living within us.

When we confess our sins, our relationship with God is restored. For Nehemiah and the nation of Israel, God restored the temple and the walls of Jerusalem.  Hundreds of years later, a second and more complete restoration came through Jesus, the Messiah, who came to bring spiritual redemption to ALL who would believe. Ultimately, Christ will return to earth and establish His Kingdom forever. Believers will experience complete restoration as we enter into the promised inheritance; dwelling in the presence of God forever! (Revelation 21:3)

Showing our Faith in our Prayers

Finally, in prayer, Nehemiah reminded God of His previous promises to Moses and the nation of Israel. He pleaded on behalf of Israel according to God’s faithful character of integrity. Quoting from Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 30 in his prayer, he reminds God of His promise to scatter for rebellion and to heal and redeem for true repentance from sin and confession. He was claiming the promises of God, standing on the steadfast word of the Lord, he believed the Lord would faithfully act according to His own promises and purpose. He claimed the promises of God, standing on the steadfast word of the Lord!

Nehemiah took time to remind God of His promises, not because God “forgets”, but because speaking His character back to the Lord bolsters our faith while demonstrating total trust in Him and His Word. Pray to God using scriptures. Exclaim what God has done and what He has promised. Our hope will be restored and will help us hold tightly to the faithfulness of God.

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-Mandy

2 thoughts on “Bible Study: The Prayer of Nehemiah

  1. BettieG says:

    Amen! God is so faithful to His Word and to His purposes in our lives. He knew the path ahead for you, even at that young age of shifting your own plans. Oh may we cling to His promises, and listen to those convictions the Holy Spirit stirs within us. Blessings and prayers, dear friend!

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