We make many different prayers: prayers that ask of God, prayers that transact with God, and prayers that even try to strike a bargain with God. In desperate times, we might be angry at God when He doesn't answer our prayers immediately. When life is smooth sailing, we might come to God with thanksgiving, while secretly hoping that He does nothing to rock the boat.
Nehemiah’s prayer shows us what it means to go before the Lord in humility and devotion. At that time, Nehemiah held a high position in the Persian king’s court as a cupbearer. He had a successful career and was closely trusted by the king. His stable life was overturned when he heard of the report given by Hanani. He was compelled to action. He prayed in reverence and repentance, seeking the forgiveness of Israel and appealing to God to be faithful to His people. Nehemiah petitioned for Jerusalem’s restoration and asked for divine favor when he speaks to the king. Nehemiah trusted that God would act for His people.
What kind of prayers do we pray? Prayer can reflect the condition of our hearts. What we pray for and how we pray on a daily basis can reveal much about ourselves.
Nehemiah had his own life, yet, his prayer went beyond a list of personal needs and ambitions. Nehemiah looked beyond himself and asked God to use his God-given influence to do something for His people.
Although Nehemiah was in a high position, he humbly interceded for Israel, recognizing that God is merciful and faithful.
When we examine our prayers, do we mostly present personal needs to God or do we intentionally remember others in prayer? Do they reflect our trust or reverence for God, or do they expose a sense of entitlement? While God cares for our needs – and it is good to pray for them, God is also teaching us, through Nehemiah, to pray beyond ourselves.
Let us remember how lost we would be if not for Christ. So, let's go before Him with incredible humility and conviction of His love. As we contemplate the spiritual riches we already have in Christ, we confidently look beyond ourselves and intercede for others in their time of need. Now, shall we pray?
What do we usually pray to God for? Are they typically personal requests or wants from God? Do they reflect an appreciation for who God is and a love for those around us? Let's pray for the transformation of our hearts and attitudes when we go to God in prayer.