As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days, and I continued fasting and praying before the God of heaven. And I said, “O Lord God of heaven, the great and awesome God who keeps covenant and steadfast love with those who love him and keep his commandments, let your ear be attentive and your eyes open, to hear the prayer of your servant that I now pray before you day and night for the people of Israel your servants, confessing the sins of the people of Israel, which we have sinned against you. Even I and my father’s house have sinned.”
As cupbearer to the king, Nehemiah had it made. But when he heard that his kinsmen were in “great trouble and disgrace” and that the protective wall of Jerusalem had been demolished, he sat down and wept. His great compassion led to mourning, fasting, and prayer. Nehemiah was a man who lived beyond himself. He was willing to leave the comfort of the palace in order to serve those in need.
Nehemiah’s prayer confirms the attributes of God. He is the Lord, the God of heaven and earth. He is great and awesome. And his love permeates everything he does. Nehemiah asked God to hear his prayer and do something about the great need in Israel. Nehemiah pleads for God’s forgiveness. Without making excuses he clearly conveys, “We have sinned against you.” Nehemiah is transparent and raw before God. And he is willing to be a major player in God’s plan.
- Ask God to keep your heart tender to the things that God cares about. Ask for compassion to help those in need.
- Ask God to give you the opportunity to be part of the solution. This is a bigger ask than simply, “God fix it.” We, like Nehemiah, need to be willing to allow God to use us.
Father, raise up my children to be willing to make personal sacrifices in order to build others up. Help me show them what that looks like. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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