Summary: This is part 1 of a series of sermons focusing on Nehemiah"s prayer life as he set about the great task of rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem.
Building A City On Prayer - Part 1
The book of Nehemiah is one that is filled with courage, effective leadership, faith, motivation, a great sense of adventure and a desire to honor God. Upon receiving information that the walls of Jerusalem were broken down and in ruins and the gates burned with fire, Nehemiah clearly understood the dangers and disgrace involved (1:3). It meant the city was unprotected, probably a laughing stock, with its security under grave threat from enemies. He therefore resolved to do something about it. This great task that he undertook and finished efficiently was undergirded by much prayer.
This sermon will focus on some of the prayer strategies adopted by Nehemiah. I trust it will help you in your own prayer walk as you face the challenges and the many insecurities that life throws at us. Today, we will discuss 4 of those prayer pointers.
1) Nehemiah prayed fervently (Nehemiah 1:4)
The Bible says that Nehemiah wept, mourned, fasted and prayed (1:4). He prayed earnestly; day and night (1:6). There is always a place for fasting and fervent prayer when we face stubborn challenges that seem to refuse to leave us and problems that seem to mock us. James says in James 5:16, “The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much” (NKJV). Satan will never give up without a fight, but we can always be overcomers through the principle of fervent prayer with fasting. Jesus Himself said so in Mark 9:29.
In response to Nehemiah’s fervent prayers, God gave him military, political, administrative and leadership strategies that any modern day leadership guru could learn from!!
A quote by Martin Luther says, ‘If I should neglect prayer for a single day, I will lose a great deal of the fire of faith’.
Illustration – I remember hearing a story about a prayerful missionary who was deeply disturbed by the enmity between two tribes in the area that he was ministering in. It is said that this man of prayer pitched his tent at the intersection where the two roads that led to the different tribes met. He then went inside the tent and began to pray fervently. Within a short time the tribes made peace with each other!
2) Nehemiah focused on the greatness of the One he was praying to (Nehemiah 1:5)
He identifies his God with the terms, ‘God of Heaven’, ‘great’ and ‘awesome’, and as the One ‘who keeps His covenant of love’. Understanding who his God was clearly moved him to immediate action. We too need to keep our eyes and faith fixed constantly on “Jesus, the Author and finisher of our faith”, more than on our problems (Hebrews 12:2). The Psalmist said, “I lift up my eyes to the hills….My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth” (Psalm 121:2).
Let’s ask God to open our eyes to His greatness so that we may ‘walk by faith and not by sight’.
It is said that the accomplished inventor George Washington Carver’s prayer every morning was ‘open my eyes that I may see’.