Bible Reference: Nehemiah 1:2–4
Bible Text: 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” 4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven
Bible Translation: New International Version (NIV)
Ever shared your burden with a friend, and they promised to pray for you, but never followed up with you to see how you’re doing? Ever stood in a line of folk entering or exiting a church, and while telling one parishioner that you will be praying for them, you are already looking at the next person and greeting them? I am not your judge on whether you follow through with those promised prayers for someone, but I can honestly share with you that I have said those words many times before and now stand ashamed before God acknowledging that I have often not followed through with praying for the needs that I promised someone I would pray for. Nehemiah’s actions in verse (4) really spoke to me, but what equally ministered to me, was the action that he took in verse 2, where he asked about the condition of his Jewish brothers who had survived the exile. How many times do you leave church upset that the pastor never even asked you how you were feeling? Now, may I ask you a more challenging question, how many times in the last 4 weeks have you asked how things are going at the church at a very high level, or how might you pray for your pastor? Friends, too often we want to know what’s going on because we want every little piece of gossip we could get. I believe that Nehemiah is teaching us to settle for an answer like “I am really struggling today, please pray for my health”, or “I am feeling discouraged today, please pray for me”, or a pastor may say “I am feeling overwhelmed today because I am concerned about so many parishioners who are hurting emotionally or perhaps sick”. I believe that if we could settle for prayer needs such as that, instead of needing to know every little detail, then more pastors and/or Brothers and Sisters would share their high level prayer requests with us. But remember, most won’t share their prayer requests with us if we don’t care enough to ask. Now let me draw our attention to the depth of Nehemiah prayer. For he not only cared enough to ask about the condition of his people, but he followed through with days of mourning, fasting and praying before God for the needs of his people. Some months ago I took part in a prayer chain, where I committed to enter into God’s presence for one hour, praying over some heartfelt concerns. Because I have been accustomed to short, quick conversations with God, that hour felt like an eternity. Look at the condition of Nehemiah’s heart over this concern for his people – he mourned, he fasted and he prayed for days. May I challenge you to dig deep into your heart, yes even those of you that are trying to have hearts like your Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, and consider the last time that you were burdened enough about your church, or pastor, or unsaved loved one that you found it more important to pray than to eat, and your heart was so burdened for the need that you wept uncontrollably before God in prayer for hours and days before you felt a breakthrough? Let’s care enough to actually pray about those things that concern us, and/or concern those that we love and care about. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man/woman avails much. Communion with God will best prepare us for dealings with mankind!
Lord Jesus, please touch Your people once again. Draw us unto Yourself so that with Your heart and Your love and Your concern for Your children, we too might become more devoted to caring for one another and praying sincerely for the needs of others. Regrettably, we have become such an instant, fast-paced people that we hardly leave time for showing deep concern for one another, for our pastors and for our churches. Please forgive us Lord, and teach us to pray in a way pleasing to You, and that consequently reaches the hearts of those that we pray for. Our prayers are to You and for Your glory, so help us to never lose sight of our Savior by slacking in our prayer life. The world needs You, heavenly Father, and Christians need more of You to be effective witnesses for You. Please renew a right spirit within us, beginning with me, so that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart will be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. AMEN!
If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!