“The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it.'” — Nehemiah 2:4-5
Nehemiah, cupbearer to the Persian king, was burdened by the situation he heard about in Jerusalem — most of the nation of Israel was in exile, while a small remnant returned to Jerusalem to rebuild, but the city was in devastating rubble. Nehemiah was heartbroken and set his mind to rebuild that which had been lost.
Four months of prayer and fasting led him to an opportunity to ask the king for an extended leave to help restore Jerusalem. “The king said to me, ‘What is it you want?’ Then I prayed to the God of heaven, and I answered the king, ‘If it pleases the king and if your servant has found favor in his sight, let him send me to the city in Judah where my ancestors are buried so that I can rebuild it’” (Nehemiah 2:4-5).
Per his usual, Nehemiah sent up a prayer before his request. Call it a telegraph prayer, a free-throw prayer, or a time out, Nehemiah was no stranger to speaking to God about any and everything. Are you?
If Nehemiah had not been diligent to pray in private, his public prayer might have gone unanswered. His prayer life was evidence of someone who had an ongoing relationship with God, someone to whom prayer was second nature. What does your prayer life look like? Is it second nature or last resort?
Seeing Nehemiah invite God into his situation reminds me of all the prayers I wrote to God as a college and high school athlete. Your prayer life opens a door to the God of the universe to move on your behalf, and then He opens doors of opportunity for you to walk through.
— Fleceia Comeaux, Houston Dash chaplain
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