Summary: When God burdens us in our prayer life he is preparing us to do something about that burden in someone elses life. When our prayers connect with God's plans great things happen.
Intro: Tomas A Edison “Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed up in overalls and looks like work.”
I agree with Mark Driscoll pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle Washington. “We need far less people criticizing and writing books about what is wrong with the church.” We need more people to put their overalls on and walk closer to Jesus and bring about what the Church was called and created to be! We the bride of Christ were created to be the City of God in the world. We were created to be a light in this dark broken world.
Johnny Hunt “We’re not getting fed. His response, you fat rascal get up and expend some energy for the kingdom of God.”
What we get to see in the end of chapter 1 through chapter two is Nehemiah’s journal or memoir of how this can happen. Instead of complaining about what was wrong with the people and city of Jerusalem he went to God about what He could do to make a difference in the lives of the citizens and the city. (Principle: If God has revealed something to you that creates a burden he is probably preparing you to do something about it!!) Principle of Preparation
I. Nehemiah’s Passion
Nehemiah heard the bad report and immediately went to God for a remedy.
He began with intercession and confession before God. Confession is the root of spiritual power. In confession we declare our rebellion to God and ask for Him to heal, and cleanse us of any rebellion that will limit His work in our life. That is exactly what Nehemiah was doing in his praying for the citizens and city of Jerusalem.
Nehemiah spends 4 months in fasting, praying and intercession for his people and the city.
In the four months Nehemiah was waiting on God but He was by no means idle.
That time was used for God to allow Nehemiah’s passion for the people of Jerusalem to grow into energy for God’s plan to rebuild and restore Jerusalem.
What should we learn from this? When God places a burden for a specific person, people, task, ministry it is preparing you to be used in that area for that purpose. In that God is at work beneath the surface of your life to bring joy, life, renewal, and possible revival. Are you expecting God to work in your life in this way? We should be expecting God to continue to work both in the unusual and the normal monotony of daily life. We should expect God to continue to change people’s lives. (Principle of Expectation)
Jesus calls us together to worship to experience His life changing truth and person. Nehemiah did this for four months in prayer. That time of prayer was used for God to communicate His plan for the people and city of Jerusalem.
We too come together not just for idle time on Sunday Mornings. We come together for encouragement, instruction, direction, and as we go implementation.
James ½ brother of Jesus “faith without works is dead.” Implantation of the world =implementation
II. Nehemiah’s Plan
“To be a person of faith does not mean you are not a person who plans. We need to remember the Revolutionary war saying, “Trust in God, but keep your powder dry.” William Barclay. (What was Nehemiah’s plan based on?)
A) God’s faithfulness (Nehemiah 1.5)
What had Nehemiah’s prayer life produced?
1) A deep trust in the faithfulness of God
2) A deep desire to help his people and rebuild their city
3) A deep desire to give and not take
B) God’s favor (Nehemiah 1.11)
He needed God’s favor to show his true feelings to the Persian king. The Persian kings were insulated from anything other than good news and good attitudes. It could result in capital punishment to appear before the king in any state other than giddy with delight. Nehemiah possibly chose this time because of the Persian New Year. This time saw the Persian kings give favors and gifts. (Only succeeds w/ God’s favor)
C) Nehemiah’s formal request
1) Time off from his job (He was basically prime minister to the king)
2) Safe passage to Jerusalem
3) Plenty of resources to begin the work of rebuilding the city
This would require reversal of the Kings earlier foreign policy position on Jerusalem.
Nehemiah’s plan was not just creative thinking. It was born out of His time with God and energized by His passion for his people’s pain. There are plenty of people in this fellowship and this city that need God’s plan for healing for all areas of their lives but especially the spiritual.
We need resources as well guys. God has lain on my heart celebrate recovery, food pantry, family ministry and much more. We don’t come up with plans but God has already provided them.