Summary: How to be constantly conected to God.
Text- Nehemiah 1
Title- Being Continually Connected To God
Nehemiah 1:1 - 2:1 The words of Nehemiah the son of Hacaliah. Now it happened in the month Chislev, in the twentieth year, while I was in Susa the capitol, 2 that Hanani, one of my brothers, and some men from Judah came; and I asked them concerning the Jews who had escaped and had survived the captivity, and about Jerusalem. 3 They said to me, "The remnant there in the province who survived the captivity are in great distress and reproach, and the wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates are burned with fire." 4 When I heard these words, I sat down and wept and mourned for days; and I was fasting and praying before the God of heaven. 5 I said, "I beseech You, O LORD God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who preserves the covenant and lovingkindness for those who love Him and keep His commandments, 6 let Your ear now be attentive and Your eyes open to hear the prayer of Your servant which I am praying before You now, day and night, on behalf of the sons of Israel Your servants, confessing the sins of the sons of Israel which we have sinned against You; I and my father’s house have sinned. 7 "We have acted very corruptly against You and have not kept the commandments, nor the statutes, nor the ordinances which You commanded Your servant Moses. 8 "Remember the word which You commanded Your servant Moses, saying, ’If you are unfaithful I will scatter you among the peoples; 9 but if you return to Me and keep My commandments and do them, though those of you who have been scattered were in the most remote part of the heavens, I will gather them from there and will bring them to the place where I have chosen to cause My name to dwell.’ 10 "They are Your servants and Your people whom You redeemed by Your great power and by Your strong hand. 11 "O Lord, I beseech You, may Your ear be attentive to the prayer of Your servant and the prayer of Your servants who delight to revere Your name, and make Your servant successful today and grant him compassion before this man." Now I was the cupbearer to the king.
Being Continually Connected to God involves…
I. A Heart of Compassion- 1-4
II. A Right View of God- 5-6a
III. A Clear Conscience- 6b-7
IV. A Clear Understanding of God’s Word- 8-9
V. A Fervent Plea- 10-11
Back about 10-11 years ago I heard a sermon series from the book of Nehemiah that changed the way I interacted with God significantly. Now, I’m like you, I’d heard a lot of sermons in my lifetime, but I couldn’t remember more than a handful of them. You remember the really, really good ones, and often you remember the really, really bad ones.
As a pastor I don’t expect you to memorize everything I say. That’s just not possible, or necessary. Sermons are a lot like meals. You might not remember what you had for lunch three weeks ago, but it still nourished you. You might not remember all the details of what I preach on, but hopefully it still nourishes you and you walk away either comforted or convicted, whichever is necessary.
Anyway, that sermon series from the book of Nehemiah is one of those that stuck with me. Because it was really the first time I was presented with this new way of praying.
I grew up in a very conservative church and I was always taught the importance of a daily pray time. It always seemed to be this very strict, very regimented thing. I should be spending an hour every morning in a prayer. But I always had a tough time doing it.
Henry talked a few weeks ago about seeing prayer as a “get-to” instead of a “have to”. Well I grew up seeing it as a have to. I was told when to do it, where to do it, for how long to do it. When I failed to stick to the rules I felt like scum. My prayer life was weak.
Some people are very organized and scheduled and thrive on routine. I just don’t have that type of personality.
Some people thrive with a regulated prayer time. I don’t want to make it sound like having a set schedule is a bad thing at all. It’s a great thing. But that way of communicating with God isn’t going to fit every personality type.
So when my pastor went through this book, something clicked with me. What I saw was a picture of a guy who was connected to God in a different way. What I saw gave me the freedom to realize that I can pray anywhere, anytime, and for anything.