Our Daily Bread Teens Edition


Read Nehemiah 2:1–9

1 In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, 2 so the king asked me, “Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart.”

I was very much afraid, 3 but I said to the king, “May the king live for ever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

4 The king said to me, “What is it you want?”

Then I prayed to the God of heaven, 5 and I answered the king, “If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favour in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.”

6 Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, “How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?” It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time.

7 I also said to him, “If it pleases the king, may I have letters to the governors of Trans-Euphrates, so that they will provide me safe-conduct until I arrive in Judah? 8 And may I have a letter to Asaph, keeper of the royal park, so he will give me timber to make beams for the gates of the citadel by the temple and for the city wall and for the residence I will occupy?” And because the gracious hand of my God was on me, the king granted my requests. 9 So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me.

Always Listening

Dad was a man of few words. He wore hearing aids because his hearing was damaged when he was a soldier. One afternoon, when Mum and I were having a long chat, he said playfully, “Whenever I want peace and quiet, all I have to do is this.” He switched off both hearing aids, leaned back, folded his hands behind his head, and closed his eyes with a peaceful smile.

What my dad did that day reminds me of how different God is from us: He always wants to hear His children. This is shown in one of the shortest prayers in the Bible. One day, Nehemiah, a servant to King Artaxerxes of Persia, was feeling down when he went to see the king. He was scared when the king asked him why he was upset, but he admitted that it was because Jerusalem, his family’s city, lay in ruins. When the king asked him what he wanted, Nehemiah “prayed to the God of heaven, and . . . answered the king” (Nehemiah 2:4–5).

Nehemiah’s prayer lasted for only a moment, but God heard it. Artaxerxes gave Nehemiah what he asked for and let him go to rebuild the city.

Isn’t it comforting to know that God cares enough to listen to all of our prayers—from the shortest to the longest? —JB

God is listening for even the simplest prayer.

Thinking It Over

When do you talk with God? What stops you from saying quick “in the moment” prayers throughout your day?

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