Summary: Before we assume a task for God we need to take enough time to lay the foundation of prayer so God can supply our needs and give us the go ahead at the right time.
Nehemiah Sermon 3-4
4. The Prayer Offered 1:4-11
A Man of Prayer
“When I heard these things I sat down and wept. For days I mourned and prayed and fasted before the God of heaven.
Then I said, ‘O Lord, God of heaven/ Look at me Lord and hear my prayer, as I pray day and night.”(1:4,5)
Give me success today before this man (The King-Ch.2) so he will have mercy on me.’” (1:11)
Four Months of Prayer
There are four months of praying between receiving the news and talking to the King. This, and nothing else, is the reason the Jerusalem wall was built; all opponents were defeated; and the people were revived by the preaching of Scripture.
Dr. R. G. Lee says,
If you trust in administration, you get what administration can do.
If your trust in hard work, you get what hard work can do.
If you trust in your sparkling personality, you get what your sparkling personality can do. But-
If you trust in prayer, you get what God can do.
The “Secret” Of Useable People
God uses all kinds of people in His work- mystics like Nathanael who sit under fig trees and meditate (Jn. 1); rugged farmers like Amos who leave their fig trees and put their fingers under the noses of sinners; statesmen like Isaiah; manly heroes like Nehemiah who punch backsliders (Ch. 13: and broken hearted men like Jeremiah; etc.
My Church History professor in seminary said John Calvin and Martin Luther, the two driving forces behind the birth of Protestants in the Protestant Reformation, once spent the night in the same town and they had so little in common that neither attempted to contact the other.
But Luther and Calvin and all God’s great men and women, vastly different in so many ways, had one thing in common. They would tell you that prayer was the secret to any success they had.
A. The Priority of Prayer
Nehemiah Maximizes Prayer
His book begins and ends in prayer and contains 12 prayers. Prayer is the rule of the kingdom and it is God’s rule. God will not do some things unless we work and he will not do some things unless we pray.
James says, “You do not have because you do not ask God.” (James 4:2)
Jesus said in Luke 18, “Men ought always to pray.”
Paul said, I will pray.” (1 Cor. 14)
The Apostles said,
“We will give ourselves to prayer.” (Acts 6)
We Minimize Prayer
Prayer is the hardest work God asks us to do. To modern, impatient, proud people today- that was a long waste of time. For every 100 men God can get to work for Him He can find 1 who will wait on Him and pray.
This was not a waste of time; it was four months of preparation in the mind and soul of Nehemiah. This was four months of praying, weeping, studying Scripture and conversing with God. Prayer is the anvil upon which God fashions us into the kind of people He can trust with his power and use for his purposes.
In one Peanuts cartoon Lucy sets up her psychiatrist booth with the sign “Psychiatry 5 cents”. Snoopy come up, sits on the patient’s bench for awhile, says nothing, and leaves.” Lucy comments, “You cannot do much when a patient won’t talk.”
B. The Patience in Prayer