Summary: First sermon in series from book of Nehemiah. Focuses on Nehemiah's prayer in chapter 1.
“IT STARTS WITH PRAYER” Neh. 1:1-11
6/7/20 – FJCF
INTRO – I don’t think there’s any disagreement or doubt that America is in desperate need of a sweeping revival! Like the one that happened in 1857.
- Jeremiah Lanphier, young businessman in NYC, who believed in the power of prayer. The nation was divided by slavery. Drunkenness was rampant. People were filled w/ fear & anxiety. Lanphier asked God, “Lord, what would you have me to do?” God led him to start a prayer meeting at noon on Fulton Street in the financial district of Manhattan so other businessmen could come & pray. Out of a population of 1 million in NYC at that time, 6 people showed up the 1st week ½ hour late. Met again the next week – 14 showed up. Again the next week – 23. 40 the next week. Decided to meet every day. Within weeks, thousands of business leaders were meeting every day for prayer. God began moving powerfully throughout the nation as revival broke out & began to spread. Estimated that 1 million people were saved out of a national population of 35 million, including 10,000 conversions every week in NYC for a time.
- How many of you believe that we need another revival like that in our nation?
- How many of you believe that God could do that again?
- How many of you believe that God WANTS to do that again?
- How many of you are willing to do whatever God wants YOU to do to bring about that kind of revival in our nation again?
It is absolutely no coincidence that back in Feb., before I had even preached my first sermon as your new pastor, as I was on a prayer retreat to seek God’s direction for what HE would have me do as your Pastor, He laid it on my heart to preach a series of message out of the OT book of Nehemiah. And that name of that series would be “Rebuild – Restore – Revive.” (And Cindy’s SS lesson w/ the kids this AM was from Ezra – “The People Go Back”)
- He knew that a pandemic was coming.
- He knew that a time of massive national turmoil was coming
- He knew that today would be the first time that we would be back together in these buildings for corporate worship.
- And He knew that we would need to hear from Him about how HE would rebuild, restore, & revive His people IF we would hear from Him, obey Him, & adjust our lives to HIS plans as He leads us.
And it’s also no coincidence that just this past Saturday, I heard these words so clearly that I had to grab my phone & type them into my phone so I wouldn’t forget them: “THE REVIVAL STARTS HERE!”
- I believe God is about to do something powerful in our midst.
- I believe God is wanting to stir up His Church in these tumultuous days in which we are living.
- In fact, I believe that’s why He is allowing these things to happen right now.
o He’s showing us the depth of the depravity of sin – Question is: Will we confess & repent?
o He’s showing us our desperate need for Him – Question is: Will we cry out to Him in desperation?
o He’s showing us the direction that we need to go – Question is: Will we go w/ Him?
EXPLANATION – Open Bibles to Neh. 1:1-11
Nehemiah is one of the history books of the OT. It, along w/ the book of Ezra (Ez-Neh originally 1 book in the Jewish scriptures), give the account of the rebuilding of Solomon’s magnificent Temple in Jerusalem. It had been destroyed & burned down by King Nebuchadnezzar in about 586 BC (2 Kings 25). Tremendously traumatic & tragic time for God’s people.
In those days, cities were surrounded by great walls to protect them from enemy armies. If the walls were broken down, the city would be extremely vulnerable to being attacked & overrun by their enemies.
When Nehemiah heard that the walls around Jerusalem were down, he knew that something had to be done. He knew that there would be opposition. He knew that it would take a huge amount of hard work. But he also knew God, & that made all the difference!
And here’s one more thing for you to know: Nehemiah was a layperson. He wasn’t a priest, or a preacher, or a prophet. He was a layperson w/ a secular job – the cupbearer to the king.
So know this: When revival comes, it will come through YOU. It’s not just something that the pastors & preachers & evangelists come up with to try & manipulate the emotions of the people. Revival will come when the people in the pew as well as the person in the pulpit prepare themselves for it, put themselves in the position to receive it, & passionately pray for it.