Photo credit – Bethany Krueger – courtesy of flickr

Hi Friends, in our last post we shared 4 prayer pointers from the life of Nehemiah. They were,

  • He prayed fervently
  • His focus was on the greatness of the One he was praying to
  • He prayed for favor
  • His prayer included the promises of God

Today, we will look at 3 more prayer thoughts from Nehemiah. They are,

  • Nehemiah prayed against resistance (Nehemiah 4:4)

The opposition and resistance to God’s work came from a man called Sanballat and his associates (4:1-3). It included threats with military backing, incensed anger, mockery, ridicule and humiliating insults (2:19, 4:1-2, 4:3, 4:7-8, 4:11). Nehemiah’s immediate response was prayer, as seen in 4:4 and 4:9. As he prayed, God always gave Him strategies to negate the ungodly machinations of his opponents and He also frustrated their plans (4:15)! The people therefore were encouraged and the work kept progressing.

We too can be sure that whenever we attempt something great or small for God, or strive to draw closer to Him, the enemy will come against us. He will do whatever he thinks necessary to stifle us. But, he can never defeat us for the Bible says that ‘we are more than conquerors through Jesus! (Romans 8:37). Therefore, let’s ‘Submit to God and resist the devil (through prayer) and he will have to flee from us’ (James 4:7). I once heard a man of God say that ‘Prayer doesn’t just stop the enemy’s plans; it pushes back those plans’! 

As the world battles a stubborn, unseen enemy, let’s resist its effects in prayer.

Illustration – At one point in my life, the Lord led me to coordinate a musical at church with our choir. It was actually something beyond my capabilities. No sooner had the rehearsals started, I developed a bad lung condition which required a lot of rest. This was hardly what was needed to go forward with such a production. Trusting God and with me working through whatever physical caution was required, (with much prayer), we got the rehearsals moving. The musical was eventually a success, held on schedule, and touched many lives in 3 different venues.

Praise God, through prayer, we can overcome any resistance!

  • He prayed for strength (Nehemiah 6:9)

In chapter 6, Nehemiah’s enemies were scheming to trap and harm him through deception. They attempted to trap him in this manner on 5 different occasions (6:4-5). They were also trying to frighten and weaken his team through political intrigue (6:5-9). Isn’t that how satan comes against God’s children as He makes repeated attacks, bringing fear and intimidation, looking for a knock-out punch? Nehemiah’s response however was twofold. He refused to be distracted from the great work he was doing (6:3) and he PRAYED. He prayed “Now strengthen my hands” (6:9).

In praying for strength, Nehemiah also discovered a great truth that so often encourages us in our own struggles. He proclaimed, “Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength” (8:10). He also obviously knew where that joy could be found for the scripture says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11).

Illustration – The first gift my wife Regina gave me in the early stages of our friendship was a hand-crafted wall hanging. It contained the powerful words, “The joy of the Lord is your strength”. It has been hanging on the wall of our room from the day we got married! Although somewhat faded now, it still brings encouragement every time we look at it.

Are you facing some challenge today? Pray for God’s strength to be with you. And do remember to pray for strength for those who are directly facing any deadly attack today. Also, for those who may be on the verge of giving up!

  • He personalized his prayers

What I mean by that is that Nehemiah included himself into the prayers he prayed. In 1:6 he says “Let your ear be attentive…… to hear the prayer your SERVANT (emphasis mine) is praying …”. In 1:11 he prays, “Give your SERVANT (emphasis mine) success today….”.

I have often found that my faith is greatly increased when I include my name into the promises of scripture I pray over my struggles. For instance, if I were praying the scripture that says “I am the Lord who heals you” over sickness, I would pray “I am the Lord who heals (my name)”. That makes it very personal and it certainly lifts up faith. It also reassures me that Jesus knows me by name (Isaiah 43:1)!! Refer David’s prayer in 2 Samuel 7:18-29, where he includes his name twice in the prayer. We could also use the name of others in prayer or the name of our nation/other nations.

Closing – I pray that you are being encouraged by the prayer pointers taken from the book of Nehemiah. We will conclude this study with our next post on The Preaching Platform. Till then, may you see many tokens of His grace on your life and ministry as you seek Him in prayer.

God bless you!

For part 1 of this study, check the following link.

Devotional : Building A City On Prayer – Part 1

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