Summary: Give me success! This was Nehemiah’s prayer and God granted it. This sermon can be used for graduates or as a general audience message.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
A. It’s good to be back with you this morning.
1. Last week Kay and I had the opportunity to visit with the Endeavor Christian Church which meets close to Polaris.
a. They are only about 6 weeks old, so it was kind of nice to visit a church that is just starting out.
2. This morning I want to continue our Home Builders series–Building for the Future
a. This is a message that is geared toward our graduates, but it is also an important message for every Christian and every church
b. While we are to be content with where we are, we are also to look ahead
c. Philip. 3:13b-14
Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.
d. Making it through twelve years of school or 16 years including college, involves facing some very real challenges.
B. So the question is, "What’s next? Where do you go from here?"
1. But the question I want to ask is, "Are you striving for success?"
2. I believe that God wants us to live successful lives
a. That does not always go along with the world’s idea of success
You can be a successful business person, but be a terrible failure as a parent or a spouse
You can be a successful farmer, or politician, or job foreman, or teacher, but be lacking in your relationship with God.
b. So, it’s not a matter of being a success in the eyes of the world
But are you planning to be a success in the eyes of God?
c. Here is what you need to understand–you can be successful and still be within God’s will
C. As a matter of fact, success is what a guy by the name of Nehemiah prayed for
1. About 500 years before Jesus came into the world, Nehemiah found himself working as a slave for the King of Persia, Artexerxes
a. You see, the Jewish nation had grown so far away from God that He allowed His chosen people to be defeated and carried away into captivity
b. One day Nehemiah got word that the wall and the gates around the holy city of Jerusalem were in utter ruin
2. Being a slave Nehemiah couldn’t just go in and ask the king for permission to go back to Jerusalem
a. He couldn’t even appear said in the sight of the king–after all, the king didn’t want people bringing him down
b. The fact that the holy city was in ruin touched Nehemiah’s heart, but he didn’t know what to do–so he prayed
c. READ: Nehemiah 1:4-11
d. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.
3. Our graduates need to realize that they have already succeeded several times in their lives
a. You graduated from the womb and successfully adjusted to life on the outside.
b. You graduated from infancy and successfully began that first day of kindergarten.
c. You graduated from pre-adolescence and successfully navigated those teen years.
d. Now you have graduated from high school / college and now you must travel the road of adulthood.
4. What do you need to do in order to have a successful life?
a. This is true for graduates, young or old
b. This morning I want to take a few pointers from Nehemiah that will help you be a success
I> PRAY PERSISTENTLY
A. One day Nehemiah was in the presence of the king whom he served and his sadness was quite evident
1. You need to realize that this is a big deal–the king did not want to be depressed by those around him
a. Nehemiah could have been imprisoned or worse
b. When the king finally asked, "What is it you want?" it says that Nehemiah prayed again before answering
2. Make sure your heart is right with God
a. Keep working on your relationship with God
B. Three reasons prayer is important
1. Prayer clears our vision
a. Nehemiah was in a tough spot–he didn’t know what to do
b. You are going to run into some situations in your life where you don’t know which way to turn
c. When you feel like you’re at the end of your rope, tie and knot and hang on–and pray
2. Prayer quiets our worry
a. Philip. 4:6-7
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
3. Prayer keeps us connected
a. Prayer helps us to put our trust in God