Summary: Prayer is the first step to achieving desired results.
Building the Walls and Hanging the Gates
October 29, 2006 Penn Yan NY
Neh 1:1-5 In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 2 Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire." When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah was the cup bearer to the King Artaxerxes. He was saddened by the knowledge that Jerusalem had fallen into such a state. Let read on:
So I went to the governors of Trans-Euphrates and gave them the king’s letters. The king had also sent army officers and cavalry with me. When Sanballat the Ammonite official heard about this, they were very much disturbed that someone had come to promote the welfare of the Israelites. I went to Jerusalem, and after staying there three days I set out during the night with a few men. I had not told anyone what my God had put in my heart to do for Jerusalem. There were no mounts with me except the one I was riding on. By night I went out through the Valley Gate toward the Jackal Well and the Dung Gate, examining the walls of Jerusalem, which had been broken down, and its gates, which had been destroyed by fire. Then I moved on toward the Fountain Gate and the King’s Pool, but there was not enough room for my mount to get through; so I went up the valley by night, examining the wall. Finally, I turned back and reentered through the Valley Gate. The officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, because as yet I had said nothing to the Jews or the priests or nobles or officials or any others who would be doing the work. Then I said to them, "You see the trouble we are in: Jerusalem lies in ruins, and its gates have been burned with fire. Come, let us rebuild the wall of Jerusalem, and we will no longer be in disgrace. I also told them about the gracious hand of my God upon me and what the king had said to me. They replied, "Let us start rebuilding." So they began this good work.
After hearing from one of his brothers that the “wall of Jerusalem is broken down and its gates have been burned with fire.” Nehemiah goes to prayer.
PRAYER MUST BE OUR FIRST STEP BEFORE ANYTHING ELSE!
One man challenged another to an all-day wood chopping contest.
The challenger worked with all his might, stopping only for a brief lunch break. The other man had a leisurely lunch and took several breaks throughout the day. At the end of the day, the challenger was surprised and somewhat annoyed to find that the other fellow had chopped substantially more wood than he had.
"I don’t get it," he said. "Every time I checked, you were taking a rest, yet you chopped more wood than I did. How did you do it."
"Didn’t you notice," said the winning woodsman, "that I was sharpening my ax when I sat down to rest."
Prayer is the action of sharpening the ax.
When work needs to be done there are certain steps that we need to take:
1st - Recognize the Need:
A) Read chapter 1 vs. 5-11.
3 They said to me, "Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire."
4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.
Then I said:
"O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.
8 "Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ’If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’