Read Nehemiah 1 as background. For a while the nation of Israel existed under the leadership of kings. Saul was the first followed by David and then his son Solomon. The nation split into the Northern and Southern Kingdoms and were under separate rule. Both nations went into idolatry. Captivity followed. The Northern people were taken by Assyria and the Southern by Babylon. Some 70 years later some of the people started going back to Judah. Through the preaching of Ezra many people returned to the Lord. Nehemiah was cupbearer to the king. Some people from Judah came to the city and Nehemiah asked about the holy city of Jerusalem. The report was not good; it disturbed Nehemiah. He wept, mourned, fasted and prayed. He was moved to do something. One day the king noticed how sad Nehemiah was and asked him about it. When told about Jerusalem the king asked if there was anything he could do. Nehemiah asked for letters, one for his safety of travel to Jerusalem and the second for letters granting lumber to rebuild. They were given to him and Nehemiah made the trip to Jerusalem.
Let’s look at Nehemiah’s prayer to help us have a better prayer life. (1) Why pray? Why is praying important? If we’re too busy to pray, then we’re too busy. We are commanded to pray. It’s not an option. It’s a privilege. We need to pray because there’s a devil. He’s not just a figure in our imagination. He has lots of power (not as much as God) and we are no match for him. Prayer is God’s appointed way of our getting help. James 4:2 says we have not because we ask not. Prayer was principal in the lift of Jesus; if he thought it important, how do we think we’ll get along without it. Prayer is how we receive help in times of trouble. It is how we receive the power of the Holy Spirit. No one can be saved without praying and asking God to save him. (2) Nehemiah had a definite burden. Most of our praying is “burden-less.” We need to get real with God. While Nehemiah prayed God was working on the other end with the king. Are you willing to pray for a burden and then do something about it? (3) Nehemiah fasted. This is connected with whole-hearted praying. Many in the Bible fasted and prayed. Little fasting goes on today. If we want the power of God we need to do some fasting and praying. (4) Nehemiah interceded for his people. He prayed for their forgiveness and his. If we are to have revival, it has to start here in the house of God. (5) Nehemiah recognized the greatness of God. He knew if the wall was to be rebuilt in Jerusalem, it would take the help of God. He realized he couldn’t do it on his own. I’m amazed that we hesitate to ask God for big things. Is he only capable of answering little things? Peter said to cast all our care on the Lord. No problem is too big for God. (6) Nehemiah reminded God of his covenant. God made a promise and Nehemiah knew God was not capable of breaking it. (7) He was persistent in praying. He prayed day and night. Persistent praying is effective praying. Don’t quit praying.
Do you need to pray? Need a burden? Do you need to intercede for someone? Or need to be persistent? We all need God’s help and prayer is the way to get it.