Summary: Continuation shows how Nehemiah rebuilt the walls thanks in part to his prayer of contrition, concern, confession, confidence, and commitment. Link inc. to formatted text, audio/video, PowerPoint.
Pray for the Impossible, pt. 2
We have begun to talk about one of the shortest men in the Bible. Not Zacchaeus, this is "Knee High Miah!" Shorter than him was Job's friend, Bildah the Shuhite [shoe height!] Anybody know the very shortest man? It was the Roman Centurion who slept on his watch!
Last time we said that God does His best work, in impossible circumstances!
26 But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
The walls which once surrounded Jerusalem now stood in heaps. The gates were burned with fire. It broke Nehemiah's heart. He began to weep and pray and fast over it.
v. 4 One of the major themes which emerges from the book of Nehemiah is prayer. Nehemiah realized there are many things you can do AFTER you pray, but there is nothing you can do UNTIL you pray!
God's people have a powerful tool at our disposal. It is the mighty weapon of prayer.
4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)
Prayer moves the hand that moves the world!
Here is one of the mightiest prayers in all of the Bible.
Last time we saw that it was... [some new info. added here]
1. A prayer of contrition.
He understands he's kneeling before the great God of heaven.
v. 5 He isn't coming to God flippantly. Yes, prayer is conversation with God, but always with reverence for who He is. Jesus prayed this way in His example of the Lord's prayer. "Hallowed be Thy Name."
The way some of us pray to God I wonder if sometimes God must think, "Are you talking to me? I didn't recognize myself in this conversation!"
I'm thankful that I can talk to God as a friend and as a Father, but I need to remember Who He truly is!
ill.--Adrian Rogers asking God to use him, and digging a hole in the ground [see audio]
The reason many of us have too high of an opinion of ourselves is that we have too low of an opinion of our God!
2. A prayer of concern.
He wept and prayed, and then fasted. Jesus said the big things come by fasting. Do you ever fast?
"We pray without crying, we give without sacrificing, we live without fasting...is it any wonder that we sow without reaping?!"
Nehemiah never could have rebuilt the walls of Jerusalem until he wept over the ruins. The burden led to the prayer that led to the miracle! You cannot heal what you do not feel.
Tears are a language God understands. He is moved by what we are moved by.
3. A prayer of confession.
v. 6-7 The best prayers are the ones that God hears. And He has promised that He doesn't hear the prayers of those who willfully aren't right with him.
18 If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me:
Nehemiah knew it was sin that led to the destruction of Jerusalem and her walls. And it would do no good to weep over the ruins if he was not willing to repent of the sin which led to those ruins.
Is your life lying in ruins? Is sin to blame? Don't just cry over your plight. Make it right!
4. A prayer of Confidence.
v. 8-10 He says, "God, remember those promises from your Word? I'm holding you to your Word!" Nehemiah not only knew God's Word, he believed it.
Here is real prayer. Not just thinking of what you want, and asking God for it. Not just having your agenda and begging God to get on board w/ your plans. Real prayer is taking God at His Word. Real prayer is claiming the Rock Solid Promises He has given us in His Word!
Pray this way: Identify a promise of God, and then stand on it, and tell Him about it!
11 Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, and his Maker, Ask me of things to come concerning my sons, and concerning the work of my hands command ye me.
God here says that we can tell Him what to do if it is based upon His Word!
Nehemiah says God, I'm asking you now to do what you have said you will do. We are returning to you in faith and repentance, and now we will await your favorable response back to us as you have promised. Nehemiah is holding God to his Word.
Isn't this audacious? Yes, but it is a holy audacity our God is not offended by. He delights in us believing Him and taking His Word. Without faith it is impossible to please God, and so having faith pleases Him! Faith is taking God at His Word. Faith is believing God's promises regardless of the circumstances and regardless of the consequences.